2011 23/09
viasnalogo

23 September 2011

Minsk

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” expresses its concern over the transfers of political prisoners Andrei Sannikau and Zmitser Dashkevich.

On 21 September, Iryna Khalip, wife of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau, received a telegram saying that her husband had been transferred from Navapolatsk penal colony to Babruisk colony #2. However, on 23 September, the Interior Ministry’s Department of Penal Executions informed her that he had not yet reached the destination.

On 19 September 2011, the Young Front leader Zmitser Dashkevich was transferred from Horki penal colony to Mahiliou detention center due to unknown reasons. However, a few days later he was convoyed to an unknown destination. No official information on the transfer’s route and the reasons for it was reported to Dashkevich’s family and lawyer. No official information about his current whereabouts has so far been announced, which constitutes a brutal violation.

The process of transferring of prisoners provokes physical and moral sufferings. Therefore, we view the ungrounded transfer as torture. Moreover, no food or other things can be received by the prisoners during the transfer, which raises concerns over their health, considering the coming autumn. The right to legal protection and meetings with the lawyers is also blocked during the period. The absence of information on their whereabouts should be considered inhuman treatment, both towards the prisoners and their families.

The Human Rights Center “Viasna”, in turn, states that the Belarusian authorities have repeatedly used various means of torture against prisoners of conscience. The practice must be immediately put an end to, and the perpetrators must be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” demands to:

- stop the harassment of Andrei Sannikau and Zmitser Dashkevich by the penal officials, namely failure to provide information on their whereabouts;

- provide the imprisoned Andrei Sannikau and Zmitser Dashkevich with an opportunity to meet with their lawyers;

- immediately release all political prisoners.

According to spring96.org

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