An update on the situation of Belarusian anarchist prisoners

*Mikalai Dziadok* (4,5 years) is finishing his 3rd month in a solitary
cell after having refused to work on Saturdays. Work is obligatory in
Belarusian penal colonies, but is regulated by the Labour Code, which
prescribes that a person shouldn't work more than 40 hours a week.
Mikalai was forced to work more on Saturdays, but refused to do so. He
was punished with 6 months of solitary confinement on June 1st. During
this period he is deprived of all dates, phone calls and food supply
from the outside.

*Ihar Alinevich* (8 years) served 14 days in a punishment cell for
refusing to clean the inner yard of the colony. This work is done only
by certain prisoners who relate to the downcasts*. Thus, the prison
administration tries to make him the downcast as well. In Belarusian
prisons the downcasts do all the dirty work, eat and work in the
distance, they are objects of humiliation and often used for sex by
other prisoners. The pressure can be the result of the fact that Ihar's
mother started publishing his prison diaries. Earlier he refused to sign
a petition for mercy.

*Aliaksandr Frantskevich* (3 years) was put in a punishment cell for
refusing to clean the cell, which is the work for the downcasts. Before
that he was visited by a top-rank policemen, who had organised the
arrests of anarchists in autumn 2010. He tried to intimidate Aliaksandr
and hinted at the necessity to sign the petition for mercy. Moreover,
other prisoners get punished for having contacts with Aliaksandr.

*Jauhen Vas'kovish* (7 years) doesn't receive any letters from people
other than his parents. The censor only shows him empty envelopes. He
informed that he had been also asked to sign the petition for mercy, but
refused to do so.

*Artsiom Prakapenka* (7 years) conducts a hunger strike since August 8th
and is now in a punishment cell. Artsiom was forced to work in the first
shift, thus he cannot make a special vegetarian lunch for himself, as he
had done before, when he worked in the second shift. He also refused to
sigh the petition for pardon and receives letters only from parents.

*Pavel Syramolatau* (7 years) signed the petition for pardon in June,
but has not been released yet.

/* There is a strict hierarchy in post-soviet prisons, according to
which several "casts" are distinguished. Every cast has a certain scope
of rights and duties. The hierarchy is now not so strict as before, but
still the prison authority has to put up with it. Sometimes it uses the
hierarchy in it's own interests./

/"Blatnye" -- professional criminals, part of 'mafia' or organised
groups outside of prison, are on top of the hierarchy. They are in
charge of illegal supply of food, tea, cigarettes and cell phones in
prison. They guarantee the 'prison law' and judge conflicts between
other prisoners. Usually don't work./

/"Muzhiki" -- ordinary prisoners, the most numerous group. The work,
don't fight for the power in prison, don't collaborate with the prison

/"Kozly" (trusties, 'activists') -- prisoners, openly collaborating with
the prison authority, working for the administration (librarians,
different managers, etc.). It is frowned on to get in touch with this cast./

/"Opuschennye" (the downcasts) -- gays, people that are used for sex
(even if they are not gay), prisoners, sentenced for paedophilia,
rapists, and people that get in touch with the previously mentioned. It
is enough to take something from the downcast, to touch him or to eat
with him at one table to be considered a downcast as well. They don't
have any rights and usually do the dirty work -- washing toilets, etc.
They always live separated from other prisoners./

/The prison authority tried to break the 'laws' and mix all kinds of
prisoners, but it always resulted in mass disorders and suicide
attempts. For any prisoner it is better to die or get punished than to
be labelled a downcast by others and serve the rest of the sentence in
humiliation. It is almost impossible to change your cast.




Addresses of prisoners in former Soviet Union

Posted By

Aug 19 2012 22:33



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