21 July 2018, Saturday, 12:55

Leanid Autukhou: Changes Came to a Head

Leanid Autukhou

On the other side of the barricades they understand that their time has come.

Activist of the Belarusian People's Front Leanid Autukhou told vitebskspring.org about incarceration conditions in the Vitsebsk region.

The opposition member took an active part in the celebration of Freedom Day in the regional center on March 25, he was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of the procedure for organizing or holding a mass event):

- It was the fourth time when I found myself in the temporary holding facility. I do not remember how old I was when it happened for the first time. But nothing has changed since then. Nothing!

Unless the personnel treats you more gentle. But the first time there was awful. Earlier guards were insolent, self-confident, and now they feel that they are no longer so almighty. They are clever, they understand that changes came to a head. They feel it better.

Guards just did their work and treated us well. And not only political ones, but also usual "guests" of the temporary holding facility: the guy in my ward was there because he drinks, then goes into the yard and breaks the peace, however, he was treated well. I have no complaints. But there are many of them about the system itself.

I was put in a two-place ward. Two days before the trial was in other ward, as soon as the trial was held I spent all thetime in the same ward. There was a guy from Polatsk. He had debts (24 hours of administrative arrest on previously adopted court rulings - Ed.). He did not have support, since he only has a mother. He was glad to be with me in the same ward: I had support from my friends, wife, family. He had no cigarettes and no extra food. He was lucky to meet me. He said: "I'm like at home."

Incarceration conditions? Two-place ward means lack of space. There is double-deck bunk bed - metal frame, wood boards. During the first week we had a good linen, then not as good as earlier, but we did not care.

There was no window in the ward, only a small hole made by workers. And it helped us to find out whether it was a day or a night. .

We has some walks when we asked. About 30 minutes every day. Only once there was no walk, but guards apologized, there was an incident there. They said: "Sorry, guys, tomorrow you'll have a walk". And it was done.

I took a shower only once. I had an opportunity to make a call. I filed an application and got the permission. I regularly received the mail. There were lots of letters received. But my letter was not received. Although they gave me the envelope with a stamp.

I had no problems with parcels.

And now here comes the main thing. It is not about different restrictions there. We were not relaxing there. The nutrition was a complete disaster. My age requires careful attention to food I eat. But it was a real torture to me. That was the torture by starvation.

When I was there for the first time I tried their meatball. I will never forget that taste. This time I have not been given any meatball. They say "the Regional Executive Committee adopts a food ration". As soon as the power changes, it is needed to put them in one word and feed them with these meatballs. We need just find out the surname of that cook.

The food is even worse than that I feed my dog with. I treat the dog better than Lukashenka regime treats people who got to the temporary holding facility. They are hooligans, pilferers, but they are human beings! The torture by starvation makes people surrender. It is not allowed to treat a person this way in the 21st centery!

I'd also like to mention the light. The light is always on. But it is not enough to read. I was reading all the time. There is nothing else to do there. I had some my books, they have books only in Russian. I read books in Belarusian and left them there. Let others read them.

Because of that poor light I had a headache. My "neighbor" was 25 and he tried not to read a lot because of the light: "I read a little then have a rest." The lack of light for reading is also a torture.

Or is it done on purpose to make a person suffer? If it is true, then there should be an investigation and a punishment as soon as the power changes. Within 15 days my eyesight got worse, and now I have to wear glasses to read.

The torture by the light, tortures by the starvation... What else do you remember? Radio that plays all day long. It was also unbearable. Propaganda instead of news. Everything was in Russian. And I do not listen to it.