Valery LEVANEUSKI - personal site  
December 7th, 2006. Posted in Author's articles

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You wish to get in prison – come to Belarus

Such personal opinion of the former political prisoner Valery Levaneuski who has stayed two years in prisons of Belarus for so-called “the insult of the president of Belarus“. The leader of entrepreneurs has learned with many verdicts of Belarus during serving punishment with 2004 for 2006. All verdicts, in Levaneuski opinion, are constructed on assumptions of consequence and “internal” belief of court, and have no demonstrative base. The prisoner of conscience considers what exactly in Belarus it is possible to receive term of imprisonment without legislative grounds.

The analysis of the reasons of dictatorship, reprisals. What is the Belarus prison. Historical experience. Strategy and tactics of the future incorporated opposition in Belarus. (Continuation of a theme…)

Valery Levaneuski has prepared a number of analytical articles in which he expresses the personal opinion on many questions, concerning histories of development of dictatorship in Belarus, preconditions of its occurrence, reprisals and an agony of authority. In these articles answers to different questions are given, including, whether the incorporated opposition in Belarus that it is necessary to do in the near future and in the long-term future for construction of democracy in our country is necessary.

Earlier we have considered themes:
- History of authoritarianism in modern Belarus.
- Lukashenka’s party. Tactical mistakes of opposition. The Belarus inquisition.
- Criminal case №0406520036. Political prisoners in Belarus.

Now let us look at the Belarus system of execution of punishments, prisons and insulators by eyes of the political prisoner which for two years of imprisonment for « the insult of the President of Byelorussia » has had time to visit different insulators and prisons in Belarus.

What is the Belarus prison (it is published with reductions).

Among condemned there is a saying: «you Wish to get in prison – come to Belarus».

The first what is a person sees, getting in investigatory insulator of Belarus, is the dirty, dark, not aired and over flown 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 even approximately. Approximately, on one person in the chamber it is necessary less than one square meter of a floor space. Beds stand in 2 – 3 circles, but they do not suffice, accused are compelled to sleep by turns. For example, I lived in chambers where on 15 square meters it has been established 20 beds and contained till 30-35 the person. If to consider, that the toilet is too in the same chamber and the chamber is not aired (there is no 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 II give out, as a rule, dirty, not clear form and a unpleasant kind. Mattresses as wadding pad inside contain dirty cloths or fragments of boards with sawdust. As “convicts” jokes: « Not one person has already died on this mattress ». The linen beds the reduced sizes, shabby, is grey – dirty color with spots, with holes or has such appearance that is sick on it to look. There is a bed sheet in size with a pillowcase. From three bed sheets put on norm on the person give out one. The towel, small rag-is luxury which gives out not to everyone.

Instead of the spoon give out any stump without the handle, to which years 20-30, the same mug. Plates are more similar to a helmet of the soldier of the Second World War after bombardment. In the chamber it is dark as in a cellar. At windows except for a lattice are installed also «reshki» through which light almost does not pass {take place}. In the summer of heat more than 25-30 degrees of heat, in the winter the cold, temperature often does not exceed 10-14 degrees of heat.

The bath is too a rarity. When I was in pre-trial prison of Grodno for five months hot water in a bath was only a few time, and we have been compelled to wash in a bath cold water. In the chamber of warm water is not present never, there is only cold, and that often rusty and with a suspicious smell. And to wash the clothes and bottom linen in pre-trial prison – a greater problem. Administration of pre-trial prison in washing things condemned and accused does not, and conditions to wash the things in the chamber are not present.

The persons who are being in pre-trial prison, as a rule, are dressed in what them have detained. 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 information on the put ware contentment from accused by administration of pre-trial prison disappears, as well as other legal information. Those from the persons taken into custody who tries to receive the given information or to achieve delivery of ware contentment, observance of sanitary and other norms, are exposed to prosecutions from administration, down to tortures and mockeries as was with me when I contained in insulator-1 of Grodno from May till October, 2004.

The furniture put on norms, in chambers is absent. If there are in the chamber stools, bedside-tables and other subjects of stock, in an insufficient and unsuitable condition for use. The window leaf in the chamber or is tightly driven in or in general without glass. Compulsory and natural ventilation in the chamber is absent.

Lines, an itch and other parasites – are norm in pre-trial prison. Any real medical aid in insulator 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 of insulator, anything plainly not giving out condemned. To complain to the patient there is nobody, and will not give.

A fee in insulator, in prisons poor-quality also mismatches the norms approved by Ministerial council of Byelorussia. 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 goals and tails, and many do not see meat (too it is necessary 70 gram a day) in general. Instead of porridge something stands out strongly boiled soft and with huge addition of water.

Porridge are cooked, basically, from cheap grades of groans: pearl-barley, and another – that prepare also to pigs. Rice, buckhorn and for two years of the conclusion the author of these lines did not see some other “human» grouts. Cooks in prison is too convicts, and, they do not have either education, or skills. They work as cooks and do not receive for it a payment, and go to the cook 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 the First World War still ate. To choose it is not necessary, all are obliged to eat that will bring. And bring
- 200 gram of water, in which 20-30 gram grouts (porridge)
- 500 gram of water in which 20 gram of a potato and a few sour routs (soup) – here and all dinner floats. Plus bread of not clear quality.

On norms of a feed for condemned 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 these products are allocated.

Unreasonable closeness of system of execution of punishments 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 of pre-trial prisons, prisons, down to insults, humiliations, physical violence and imposing of collecting (a premise in penalty insulators, deprivations of the put appointments with native, etc.)

Complaints, applications and other references on actions of officials of, prisons, insulators, practically, are not issued.

Under the law, all complaints and applications move only through administration of pre-trial prisons 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. 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 of pre-trial prison in a basket, and to me on it was not informed. The same situation in all prisons and insulators.

It is difficult to cause in insulators, prison, the public prosecutor. I had to declare some times hunger-strikes (refusal of reception of food) to achieve a meeting with the public prosecutor.

To find work in “zone” it is problematic, it is possible to tell, it is impossible. Though under the law, administration IU is obliged to employ condemned since in prison condemned not only can, but also is obliged to work. Many prisoners wish to work, but work is not present. Those who works, receives 1 10 dollars a month, many condemned at all do not receive a payment. To complain there is nobody. Inspections on work in a colony do not come.

On workplaces continuous infringement of the safety precautions, fire safety, sanitary and other norms. And payment of wages, practically, nobody supervises working conditions. Those who tries to appeal against absence of work or wages, that is exposed to reprisals from administration of corrective establishment.

Legal aid in prison, practically, completely is absent. To achieve reception of legal aid in “zone” usual condemned it is impossible.

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

I am going to put apply 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 international agreement in the field of protection of the rights of the persons taken into custody and condemned on imprisonment. Only, having betrayed wide publicity of a problem of the Belarus prisons, it is possible to solve the problems which have collected there.

Useful references on a theme:
- The special project “ZONE”
- A prison life in Belarus

Materials of criminal case №0406520036 – so-called “the Public insult of the President of Byelorussia”

Heading “question-answer”

See continuation of a theme: Why the opposition in Belarus is doomed to a victory

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Note: Translated by means of machine translation. The original text in Russian is on a site or