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July 19th, 2006. Posted in Author's articles

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THE PEACE, WORK, MAY…

Only, having betrayed wide publicity of infringement of laws in the Belarus prisons, it is possible to solve the problems which have collected there… Valery Levaneuski considers. Valery Levaneuski is measured to put a maximum of efforts to force the Belarus authorities to observe in a colony laws and the international obligations which were incurred by Belarus, having signed the international contracts in the field of protection of the rights of the persons taken into custody and condemned on imprisonment.

One of directions of such publicity is a book above which Valery Levaneuski now works. We publish a fragment of one of chapters of the book below.

THE PEACE, WORK, MAY…

They have arrested me in May, 9.40 1st, 2004 at an output from an apartment. At an entrance of my house I was waited by employees of public safety, Leninski District Internal Affairs Department of Grodno, riot police. They have started to carry me on various police stations. First I did not understand: what is the problem. And the problem was that by 9.40 people have started to gather for Lenin’s areas in Grodno; it is a lot of people. Instead of standard slogans “PEACE”, “WORK”, “MAY” they have brought slogans “Lukashenka in resignation”, A.Lukashenka’s portraits with inscriptions “Has deceived”, etc. Such in Belarus was not for a long time. For authorities it was a shock. They did not expect, that in conditions of total reprisals, rigid suppression of freedom of opinions and peace assemblies someone will dare to organize such…!

It, really, was new and unexpected event for all. Authorities have already got used to limit or forbid meetings and demonstrations in Belarus. It has got used, that the opposition gathers only in a wood and that under the control of groups of riot police. I, as chairman of Strike Committee of entrepreneurs of Belarus since1996, repeatedly submitted applications for the organization of meetings and demonstrations. Their first time sometimes resolved, but when these meetings and demonstrations became mass and had obviously political character then them forbade. From January, first, till May, 1st, 2004 us it has been submitted a number of applications in various cities on the sanction on carrying out of meetings and demonstrations. In all cases we were refused. Then by Strike Committee of entrepreneurs the decision on use of the state holidays for carrying out of meeting was accepted. The nearest holiday – on May, 1st, 2004 has been chosen.

In the end of April by authorities of Grodno it has been declared, that at 10.00 on 1.05.04 on Lenin’s area in Grodno takes place the meeting, devoted to a holiday « on May, 1st ». For us it was a signal. We have called the supporters to come on Lenin’s square at 10.00. Have distributed leaflets with the following text.

Come! 1st May is your day!

If you are more senior, remember! Once the majority of our people went to this day with posters and headers!
You remember, how it was! Here and now come!
Come and tell, that you think of this authority!
If you were bothered with an impetuous rise in prices, come!
If you drag half-starved existence, come!
If your pension does not suffice to pay for an apartment, come!
Come and tell, that you against that at your expense “SOMEONE” went to Austria to have a rest, ski, live happily!
Come with an empty saucepan and the spoon, with the poster, come to make the protest!
Come with rotten eggs, with rotten fruit, come and show this authority as you estimate its activity!
If you were got with “NONSENSE” on TV about your good life, come and tell about it.

We expected that as it is usual, will come about two hundred the most active our members because fear of reprisals holds down will of people.

The effect was unexpected as well as for us organizers of this action, and for authorities. On Lenin’s area some thousand people who were ready on the most resolute actions have come.
About these I have found out much later when got acquainted with materials of criminal case.

Let’s return to my arrest. Holding a meeting 01.05.04, approximately, at 13.00 they have found out, that I am arrested and have gone to release me from “captivity” to Leninski District Internal Affairs Department.

I was carried with some hours on various police stations since at this time some hundreds people stood about Leninski District Internal Affairs Department and demanded my clearing. They have detained me in District Internal Affairs Department for « finding-out of circumstances ». On me the administrative report for the organization of not authorized meeting in 10.40 has been made. On Lenin’s area in Grodno and up to court me have placed in isolation ward in prison (an insulator of the time maintenance).

The court took place on May, 3rd, 2004 directly in building District Internal Affairs Department of Lenin area of Grodno. I have asked to cause the lawyer, however by court to me in it have been given up owing to…, that all lawyers are borrowed.

I have appointed punishment in the form of 15 day of arrest that I have organized not authorized meeting 1.05.04 in 10.40 on Lenin’s area of Grodno. The judge was not confused at all with that fact, that this day (1.05.04.in 10.40) i could not be physically on the given meeting since till this time i have been arrested for an hour.

As it was found out later, “order” has acted to close me behind a lattice under any pretext. That was made. While I “sat a few day ago”, events developed the turn.

5.05.04. management of committee of state security of Belarus on the Grodno area , on representation of the public prosecutor of the Grodno area had been raised criminal case in connection with p.1 item.368 of Criminal Code of Belarus (the insult of the President of Belarus) on the fact of distribution of a leaflet (about which it was spoken above).

From 7.05.04 till it has been lead more than 12 searches, including, at me in an apartment, at office, at all my relatives, at Vasilev A.A., at his relatives, in public organizations. Everything, in investigatory actions by various calculations on the given criminal case it has been involved more than 100 workers of KGB and militia, that in the further has formed 7 volumes of criminal case (one volume, approximately, 300 sheets of materials of format A-4). For comparison-criminal cases concerning the murderers, the armed gangsters and robbers borrow, as a rule, on more than one volume.

On all it was visible, that bodies of KGB, militia, Office of Public Prosecutor try to work. 7.05.04 employees of KGB, having chosen the moment when anybody from adult members of family was not at my place, by means of riot police have broken out doors in my apartment and have arranged a search. For the sum more than twenty thousand dollars have taken out property which in the further has been confiscated by court. A part of property has completely disappeared.

By consequence it has been found out, that i was the author of a leaflet, and I 15.05.04 in isolation ward in prison was indicted in connection with p.2 item.368 of Criminal Code of Belarus (“the Public insult of the President of Belarus, connected with charge in fulfillment heavy or especially grave crime”).

The preventive punishment to me has been selected – the conclusion under the guard as apply to the gangsters who have made the grave crimes. So from isolation ward in prison I have moved to an investigatory insulator of prison №1 of Grodno. I have stayed in an investigatory insulator of 5 months, on October, 19th, 2004 they carried me in Baranovichi, then in a corrective colony №22, Domanovo station in Ivacevichi area , in December, 2004 again in prison in Baranovichi, then in investigatory insulator #1 of Minsk, then in corrective colony-19 (Mogilyov), then again in prison in Baranovichi, and in February, 2005 again in corrective colony #22 where I have stayed up to the end of term, and, till May, 15th, 2006.

Usually, so on different “zones” they carry “thieves in the law” that in a zone they had not time “to take root”, and have not started to establish the orders. The militia was afraid of me more, therefore and carried more often. The matter is that in all zones I demanded from administration of prisons of observance of the law, and it was not pleasant to them, since the basic infringements of the law in “zones” occur on fault or under the initiative of administration. Condemned not only are deprived, actually, the rights on legal and legal aid, but from them carefully hide even those laws on which they should live in prison. These are such laws, as the Criminal code-executive , regulations and others.

When I tried to defend the rights and the rights of others condemned then on me imposed various collecting. Me placed in a penal insulator, deprived with appointments to family, to me it was forbidden to get during all term of departure of punishment food stuffs in prison shop (to murderers, robbers, tyrants to buy all was possible), on me is conditional-reschedule clearing and amnesty did not extend. Often threatened with physical violence and murder, deprived with medicines and medical aid, complaints and applications forbade submitting. As a token of the protest I had been lead 14 hunger-strikes (refusal of reception of food) for from one day till 18 days. All infringements of the law proceeded, from administration of prison and Penalty Executions Department of Ministry of Internal Affairs RB (department of execution of punishments of Belarus).

I tried to appeal against in court against the collecting imposed on me and infringements of my rights. In court, addressed more than 20 times, but each time courts refused in acceptance of my applications, in connection with that procedure of consideration of such affairs is not registered in the law (the citizen-remedial code). Here such paradox of the Belarus legal system. Under the Constitution of Belarus, under the international legal acts ratified by Belarus, criminal-elusive code, I have the right to address in court with the complaint on penalized on me or in case of infringement of my rights, but practically I can not make it , and it lasts in Belarus many years. Such is policy of the state. It is a deceit – even here.

Infringement of the law, the policy of double standards, deceit, hypocrisy, militia lawlessness, humiliations, and insults from administration of prison is with what accused, and then condemned faces in Belarus daily and hourly. If to consider, that the court in Belarus is simple formality and it actually is not present, the picture becomes even sadder.

On my case by me in court it has been declared more than thirty petitions – from granting a table for an opportunity to conduct to record in court before carrying out of examinations and a call of witnesses. Any petition, practically, has not been satisfied or even is considered according to criminally remedial code. And the judge who judged me (Demchenka Dmitry Vladimirovich has sentenced concerning me and Vasiliev, the verdict is in the Internet: http://zone.levonevsky.org/doc730.htm), itself now under consequence, a case concerning him is conducted by Office of Public Prosecutor of the Grodno area.

In “zones” I have familiarized with many verdicts of courts. In these verdicts completely there is no evidentiary base of fulfillment of a crime condemned, and people are sentenced to imprisonment “on internal belief of court”. Moreover, I had a firm impression that they sentence to imprisonment in Belarus under the plan (to “a Komsomol set”). There is a plan, shall admit, to sentence to imprisonment in a year of 50 thousand person, them and will sentence to imprisonment and it is unimportant whom. Therefore sentence to imprisonment, basically, the youth and alcoholics with addicts, them is the easier to plant and “substitute, fabricate on them business.

“System” is debugged. Consequence, pre-trial prison, court, a zone are. For accused and condemned in Belarus there is no opportunity to receive legal aid. Among condemned even there is a saying – « Wish to sit down in prison – come to Belarus ».

I consider, that the organized crime in Belarus well feels itself good and continues to join with law enforcement bodies. The impression, that all drug dealing, prostitution, trade in people, custom-made and grave crimes are coordinated by law enforcement bodies, and sentenced to imprisonment those who does not enter into these groupings or casual people on « a Komsomol set ».

“A Komsomol set”. At Soviet Union, at construction huge buildings of BAM, etc. were a Komsomol set. The order for the Komsomol organization of city or area came – to allocate so much Komsomolers for a trip for this or that Komsomol construction. Allocated “volunteers» among Komsomolers. “Volunteers” went to take part in the next “grandiose” project of the Soviet state.

The first what there is a person getting in pre-trial prison of Belarus is the dirty, overflow chamber. The law establishes a sanitary minimum – two square meters of a floor space on the person in the chamber. This minimum is not observed. Approximately, on one person it is necessary less than one square meter of a floor space in the chamber. Beds cost in 2 – 3 circles, but also they do not suffice, are compelled to sleep by turns. For example, I lived in chambers where on 15 square meters it has been established 20 beds and lived till 30-35 the person. If to consider, that the toilet is too in the same chamber and that the chamber is not aired (is absent ventilation) and 20-30 person constantly smoke, it is no wonder, that a tuberculosis the most widespread disease in the Belarus prisons.

Mattress and pillow in pre-trial prison gave out, as a rule, dirty, not clear form and a kind. As “convicts” joke – not one person has already died on this mattress. The linen bed shabby, with holes or has such appearance that is sick on it to look. Instead of the spoon give out any stump without the handle, to which years 20-30, the same mug. In the chamber it is dark, as in a cellar. At windows except lattice are established also more lattices through which light almost does not pass. The bath is a rarity. When I was in Grodno pre-trial prison for five months hot water in a bath was only a few time (it is authorized to take a shower once a week for 15 minutes). In the chamber of warm water is not present, there is only cold, and that of not clear quality. Even to wash the clothes and bottom бельё in pre-trial prison it is a greater problem since administration pre-trial prison in washing a thing condemned does not accept, and there are no conditions in the chamber most to wash things.

The persons who are being in pre-trial prison, as a rule, are dressed in what they have caught. Many people – in the torn off and dirty clothes. Under the law in pre-trial prison, to the persons taken into custody, should give out things. But it is not done at all.

The note:

According to the norms of a ware contentment approved by the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs №163 from 6/30/2003 to persons, taken into custody (accused, the preventive punishment which is selected – the conclusion under the guard), to the citizen placed in pre-trial prison, the administration of an insulator is obliged to give out following new things:

For men – a mosques cap from artificial fur, a summer headdress, a padded jacket wadded, a suit cotton, a shirt top cotton, a shirt and underpants, a vest, cowards, boots leather on a rubber sole, slippers, summer cotton puttees (2 pairs), socks cotton (2 pairs), valorous, mittens wadded.

For women: a scarf half-woolen, a kerchief cotton, a padded jacket wadded, a dress cotton (2 pieces), a shirt (2 pieces), trousers cotton (2 pieces), a bra (2 pieces), stockings cotton (2 pieces), boots leather on a rubber sole, slippers, puttees cotton summer (2 pairs), socks cotton (2 pairs), felt boots, mittens wadded.

And, all these things should be the established sample and the certain quality.

But, in infringement of the given decision to the persons taken into custody, anything does not stand out at all, than the rights of the given category of citizens essentially are broken.

This information on the put ware contentment disappeared administration pre-trial prison, as well as other legal information. Those from persons taken into custody who tries to receive the given legal information or to achieve delivery of a ware contentment, is exposed to prosecutions from administration, down to tortures and mockeries as was with me when I contained in pre-trial prison-1 of Grodno from May till October, 2004.

Lice, an itch and other parasites – is a norm in pre-trial prison. Any real medical aid in pre-trial prison is absent. The system of check and the account of the given out medicines to the patient is imperfect. Such system allows plundering medicines officials and medical staff pre-trial prison, anything plainly not giving out condemned. To complain to the patient there is nobody, and will not give.

A feed in pre-trial prison, in prisons and state corrections is poor-quality also mismatches the norms approved by Ministerial council of Belarus (Government). The real control over quality and quantity of a feed is absent. The feed put on norm is plundered, to complain there is nobody, and dangerous. Instead of the put 70 gram of a fish a day “convicts” receive, at the best, pair gram of bones from the fish heads and tails, and many do not see meat (too it is necessary 70 gram a day) in general. Instead of a porridge something stands out strongly cooked and with huge addition of water.

Porridges are cook basically from cheap grades of grouts: pearl-barley and another that prepare also to pigs. Rice, buckwheat for two years of the conclusion the author of these lines did not see some other “human” grouts in general. Cooks – convicts, and at them are not present either educations, or skills. They work as cooks and do not receive for it a payment but only for an opportunity normally to eat.

The utensils in which submit food, is often badly washed and from its kind any appetite vanishes. From some plates, probably, prisoners in great domestic war still ate. To choose to not have, everyone should eat, that will bring. And bring – 200 gram of water, in which 20-30 gram grouts (porridge) and 500 gram of water in which 20 gram of a potato and a few sauerkrauts (soup) – here and all dinner, plus bread of not clear quality floats. But, on norms, should give in day: 500 gr. A potato, 250 gram of vegetables, 100 gram of grouts, 70 gram of a fish, 70 gram of meat and many other things, but all it “vanishes” on a way to the chamber though from the state budget of money for it are allocated. Closeness of system excludes an opportunity of the real control over quality and quantity of given out food. Submission of complaints in occasion of quality and quantities in a feed is rigidly stopped by administration pre-trial prison, Prisons, state corrections, down to insults, humiliations, physical violence and imposing of collecting (a premise in penal insulator, etc.).

Complaints, applications and other references on actions of officials of pre-trial prison, prisons, state corrections, practically, are not issued. Since under the law, all complaints and applications move only through administration of pre-trial prison or prisons. Procedure of submission of complaints and applications is arranged so, that the decision on registration and sending of the complaint or the application is accepted administrations of establishment, and it solves what to make with this reference, to send the addressee or to throw out in a garbage basket. More than 95 % of my complaints and applications were thrown out by administration pre-trial prison in a basket, and to me even on it was not informed. The same situation is in all prisons and state corrections of Belarus.

It is difficult to cause in pre-trial prison the public prosecutor. Or to him do not inform that demand him to come in the chamber or he does not wish to go on chambers.

I had to declare hunger-strikes (refusal of reception of food) some times to achieve a meeting with the public prosecutor.

Till last day nobody was known, how charge will be formulated. And administration pre-trial prison created to me intolerable conditions of the maintenance, carried out a various sort psychological tortures which purpose was to finish me to nervous failure or fulfillment of illegal actions (fights in the chamber, etc.). It was done to involve me in the criminal liability for infringement of the law in the chamber. Charge has been formulated by the public prosecutor only after the termination of judicial consequence, for 9 day of court. Before to me refused in the right particularly nobility of what me accuse. It was a secret. Only after 4 months of my finding in pre-trial prison to me have partially explained, of what I am suspected, the truth, not up to the end. And seven days of court neither I, nor the public prosecutor, neither the lawyer, nor the judge did not know in what my crime.

Orders in a colony are same, as well as in pre-trial prison. Differences are a little. The same closeness of system and absence of the due state control, mass infringements of the rights condemned.

To find work in “zone” it is practically impossible. Many prisoners wish to work, but work is not present. Those who works, receives 1-10 dollars a month, many at all do not receive a payment. On workplaces are continuous infringements of the safety precautions, sanitary and other norms. And payment of wages, practically, nobody supervises working conditions. Those who tries to appeal against absence of work or wages, is exposed to reprisals from administration of Corrective establishment. Legal aid for prisoners completely is absent.

“Zone” in Belarus is the state in the state where laws stop to operate. Also it is the basic problem of the Belarus colonies, prisons and pre-trial prison.

Valery Levaneuski

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Note: Translated by means of machine translation. The original text in Russian is on a site www.levonevsky.org or www.levonevski.net
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