Political prisoner Zhamchuzhny’s health deteriorating after lock-up

Political prisoner Mikhail Zamchuzhny has spent 270 days in punitive confinement in the period from 1 October 2017 to 1 October 2018. He intends to appeal against the placement in a punishment cell.

According to HRC Viasna, letters and poscards from Zhamchuzhny have only recently started to reach his friends and acquaintances. At that, some of the letters were destroyed by the prison administration. Now it is known that his health has been ruined after being put in a disciplinary cell. Among other things, the prisoner’s continuous stay in a closed ward and the lack of walks resulted in the significant darkening of vision, because pupillary muscles apparently began to atrophy.

Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, a human rights activist and the founder of the New Platform Innovation, which collects information on the conditions of detention in Belarus, was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment in July 2015. He was found guilty of inciting to intentional disclosure of information which constitutes an official secret, illegal purchase and sale of special technical equipment intended for secret collection of information, as well as bribery.

Belarusian human rights defenders declared the convict a political prisoner.

“Specific categories of people in Belarus are being subjected to false imprisonment and arbitrary detention, denial of proper care and contact with family members while in detention, state-organised physical and psychological violence, prosecution and conviction on spurious and falsified charges, disproportionate financial penalties, administrative sanctions and other forms of repression by the Belarusian authorities; whereas these categories include political prisoners (notably Mikhail Zhamchuzhny and Dzmitry Paliyenka), known political opponents, human rights activists, civil society actors, activists in environmental, non-governmental and civil society organisations, independent bloggers, journalists and editors, peaceful protestors from all walks of life, and, in particular, activists of independent trade unions (notably Henadz Fyadynich and Ihar Komlik),” the recent EP resolution on the situation in Belarus said.

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