Valery LEVANEUSKI - personal site  
May 30th, 2006. Posted in Interviews

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Valery Levaneuski: «Administrations of colonies are a smithy of shots of underworld»

Chairman of Strike Committee of entrepreneurs of Belarus Valery Levaneuski has spent two years to colonies of the general mode for the public insult of the president of Belarus. On May, 15th it left on freedom and is firmly convinced of necessity of basic changes of system of punishment for our country.

On May, 23rd Valery Levaneuski together with Alexander Vasilev have taken part in presentation of the annual report «International amnesty» in Moscow and the press conference spent in this connection event.

On May, 24th in Minsk during a meeting of the former political prisoners with Michael Marinich the plan of joint actions within the limits of the civil initiative «In protection of political prisoners and illegally condemned in Belarus» has been developed, the organizing committee is created, main objectives and problems of this structure are planned.

Correspondent of talked to Valery Levaneuski on a theme of infringement of the rights of prisoners in imprisonment places, and also about its nearest plans.

- Your first sensations on freedom?

- The first sensations to describe difficult enough, it can be felt only. First, it was not believed, that anybody now will not hail you, that it is possible to go where want, to do that you consider it necessary. After the conclusion freedom you feel as each cage of an organism, simply you rejoice to people, you rejoice to all. At the same time it is such certain disorientation in space.

- You for two weeks on freedom, the disorientation in space has passed?

- Basically, I already get used though in the beginning it seemed, that on it am required month-two, but I quickly enough adapted and is intended to participate in a political life of the country actively. For two years has collected a lot of work, now I actively meet representatives of various enterprise structures, interesting offers on cooperation arrive. It is necessary to gather a little more with forces, to restore health and to organize all at higher professional level.

- How there passed clearing who met you?

- Clearing passed not how usually. By rules they release in 9 o’clock in the morning when there come the heads. I have lifted even before lifting, in 6 o’clock in the morning I already was on post control, all heads of a colony already were on a place, and to me have given out documents. I say, that me should meet. «We know nothing, we operate under the instruction», – have answered me, but to show this instruction have refused on the basis of its privacy. Have then planted in the car of medical aid and have delivered in the nearest city in a direction to Grodno, to Slonim located in 25 kilometers from the Ivatsevichi’s colony. There have landed at station.

- And how you got home?

- People who were going to meet me, have learnt about it and have changed the route. Thus, in Slonim I was met nearby by 30 persons – the wife, friends, colleagues, representatives of the local press.

- Tell about a trip to Moscow where you have been invited together with Alexander Vasilev for participation in the press conference devoted to presentation in Russian of the annual report «International amnesty».

- First, would like to thank once again the international organization for the given support which I really felt, being in heavy conditions of isolation. Thanks to it to me the large quantity of letters as personal character, and addressed to president of RB with the requirement to release me and Alexander Vasilev to come. They wrote from different cities of Russia, the European countries, congratulated on holidays. It was pleasant to feel support from celebrities, for example, Andrey Makarevich, Boris Grebenshchikov and many other things, all you will not list.

As to a trip to Moscow it was enough productive, have got weight of new contacts, have given some interview of mass-media, among which to radio station «Echo of Moscow», BBC. It appears many people in Russia problems of infringements of human rights in Belarus, various aspects of a political and economic life of our country interest.

- What questions connected with Belarus, interested journalists first of all?

- At press conference the basic part of questions concerned the report «International amnesty». If to speak about the Belarus subjects were interested in a freedom of speech, freedom of meetings, meetings. Many simply could not believe that for one phrase can plant in prison; therefore we were a bright example for absence of a freedom of speech in Belarus. As I was in prison, they interested in maintenance conditions in zones.

- The maintenance in the Belarus correctional facilities corresponds to the standard norms?

- No, and for many it was revelation that lawlessness which is created at us at the initiative of administration correctional facilities. In the Russian prisons too not all is smooth, but there all the same any democratic processes as other department is engaged in execution of punishments already are outlined. And at us that department which puts, it is and guards. At times even reaches to the point of irrationality: one branch is a criminal investigation department, District Internal Affairs Department, etc. try to put as much as possible people, and other branch – is Department of execution of punishments which manages prisons, thinks, how concluded to let out faster as zones are constantly overflowed. Such senseless competition turns out. And a large quantity of people also put for what. I got acquainted with sentences in which absolutely there are no proofs, I do not speak, those people committed a crime or not, but in a sentence there are no proofs, there is only an internal belief of court and any conjectures. Still would like to pay attention that basically put youth, alcoholics  – for the reporting, and the organized crime only has amplified. Correctional facilities at us cannot re-educate the person, and, on the contrary, only will cripple destinies of people, embitter even more, as administrations of colonies are a smithy of shots of underworld as it is strange.

- How it occurs?

- I have been surprised, that gross infringements from the condemned provoke administrations, pushing together condemned among them, forcing one condemned to make illegal actions against others. Why I had conflicts to colony administration? Because I have demanded from them execution of the law, the criminally-executive code, other acts. Legal illiteracy in a zone -is terrible, administration does not know laws! « It is necessary “and” is not necessary »- here everything, that they can tell. For example, when I have risen the question about execution of the labor code, to me the answer from the deputy minister of internal affairs where it has been told has come, that the labor code does not extend on correctional facilities. But after all in the same place people work, how it is the law on them can not extend?! It was necessary to address in the Ministry of Lab our and Social Protection. Here when there from have arrived, give all penalties, in the Penalty Executions Department and in the Ministry of Internal Affairs have learnt, that the labor code on them extends. But their knowledge coasted to me and punishment cell, and other deprivations: I could not buy a foodstuff in prison shop, of me deprived of appointments. I was considered as the malicious infringer who could not apply for amnesty, on prescheduled clearing, and should stay to a call.

-  I heard, you write the book about a prison life?

- Yes, it is in my plans. The purpose: to pay attention of the public to non-observance of laws. Therefore the basic theme of the book – infringements of the rights correctional facilities condemned at the initiative of administration: the criminally-executive code – the most confidential book which was in a colony only at one me. The complaint to write in a zone it is very difficult, as it pours out in huge troubles, up to physical violence, but, once again I will underline, «black affairs» in a colony against the condemned become hands condemned, but at the initiative of administration. And the most important thing, that this complaint will be considered by the same field investigator who has made an offence, as under the law inquiry body in a zone – the field investigator, that is the worker of a colony, instead of the foreign any organization.

- That is of whom you will complain, himself will consider the complaint?

- Here about it speech – it or its colleague-field investigator who is sitting next! At me such cases was pretty often. As to me have explained are a system. But such system is necessary for changing, as it is system of humiliations of the person the person, system of transformation of the person in the embittered being, system of broke the person. It is impossible in a zone, even having desire, to become the normal person as there the continuous mockery, some criminals grind the skill thanks to administration. And I also wish to ask a question to our management why such system is created in zones?

- It turns out, what in zones people whom and people by and large to name heavy work?

- I so have not told. In the majority they all the same normal people, and all distemper, basically, brings regime-operations section which is a source of infringements of the rights condemned. Them, it is, not a lot of, field investigators but they have very big power and force.

- You have left after yourself fighters for the rights of the condemned?

- I will continue to do it. Being in a colony, I explained to very many people the current legislation, and now they in a certain measure can defend the legitimate rights and interests as the person armed with knowledge feels the person. By the way, it became the reason of transfer me from one colony in another as to me one complaint in a year was written, and with their occurrence became 100 in day. I hope, that this process will proceed, but the primary goal consists not in punishing any official, and as a whole to change a situation in zones, to stop continuous lawlessness. If those laws which at us are today are observed at least, it already will be a step to a lawful state. The law should be the law for all. For me the Constitution – the reference book, codes – by what I am guided in the actions.

Alain Kiselevich

The inquiry:

On September, 7th, 2004 the Lenin regional court of Grodno has sentenced to two years of imprisonment of a member of Council of civil initiatives «Free Belarus», the leader of Satrike Committee Valery Levaneiski and its assistant Alexander Vasilev on charge in grave crime fulfillment (item 368, p. 2 of Criminal code of Belarus). In a sentence it was specified, that in a phrase «Come and tell, that you against that at your expense someone went to Austria to have a rest, ski, live happily», printed in a leaflet which extended on the eve of protest action of entrepreneurs, the insult of honour and Alexander Lukashenka’s advantage contains. In 10 months Alexander Vasilev who was serving time in Orsha’s colony N8, has been released in connection with amnesty on a state of health. Levaneuski in prescheduled clearing it has been given up. Being behind a lattice, Valery Levaneuski continued struggle for the rights and the rights of other condemned. The entrepreneur repeatedly spent long hunger-strikes, for what repeatedly was located in a penal insulator, received unfair collecting from colony administration. The human rights organization «International amnesty» recognized Valery Levaneuski as the prisoner of conscience.

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