13 December 2017, Wednesday, 14:00

Homel Activists Reached UN Struggling For Their Rights

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The United Nations Committee will check the conditions of detention in the Homel temporary detention facility.

On December 7, a complaint was filed with the UN Human Rights Committee about the inhumane, degrading treatment in the temporary detention facility of the Homel Regional Executive Committee. Six ex-convicts served 59 days here (from 6 to 14 days each) during the spring protest actions against the decree on so-called "parasites", gomelspring.org writes.

The complaint in the UN was filed on behalf of the war invalid Andrei Makarau, alleged victims of inhuman treatment Uladzimir Katsora, Viktar Rubtsou, Dzmitry Saburau, Andrei Touchyn and Artsiom Shaparau also signed it. They had to contact the international structure after the Savetski District Court of Homel, the Homel Regional Court and the Supreme Court ignored their complaints of degrading treatment.

Listing the facts of degrading treatment in the Homel temporary detention facility, the former convicts named the lack of hot water in the cells during the winter, the impossibility to take shower (the shower is provided only to those who is sentenced to more than 10 days), the lack of a ventilation, as a result of which the air in the cells smells sweat, urine and excrement.

"There is no natural lighting in the detention center cells, they are illuminated by bright artificial light all the time, even at night during sleep hours, and this makes the eyes feel constantly in tension. The cells were very cold, it was about 7 degrees Celsius at night and 12-14 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, draft was constantly blowing out of the windows and doors. The radio is switched on around the clock and is so loud that we had to close our ears," – Uladzimir Katsora remembers his 12 days of arrest.

"Employees of the detention center refused to accept food, cigarettes, warm clothes and personal hygiene products, books and personal correspondence sent to me, they gave all that to me only on the day of liberation," – Viktar Rubtsou, who spent 14 days there, said.

Andrei Touchyn pointed out that he is not a smoker, but he had to breathe the heavily smoky air during 8 days of his arrest because his cellmate was smoking. The situation was even worse because he was not given daily walks for at least one hour, which he considers to be inhumane treatment of him.

In their collective complaint to the UN Committee on Human Rights, Homel residents indicated that the Republic of Belarus violated Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (respect for the inherent dignity of the human person) and article 14 of the Covenant (denial of justice).

Leanid Sudalenka, a human rights activist from Homel helping citizens to defend their rights, noted that this was not the first time when Belarusian citizens raise questions at the international level about the conditions of detention in temporary detention facilities.