Updated at 14:03,27-06-2022

Dashkevich may be transferred to high-security prison


Zmitser Dashkevich, chairperson of an opposition youth organization called Malady Front (Young Front), may be transferred to a high-security prison.

Zmitser has been charged with persistent violation of prison rules and will stand trial on October 30, Anastasiya (Nasta) Palazhanka, deputy chairperson of Malady Front who is engaged to Mr. Dashkevich, told BelaPAN.

A judge of the Mazyr District and City Court will visit Correctional Institution No. 20 in Mazyr, Homyel region, to hear Zmitser`s case and decide whether he should be moved to a tougher prison, Ms. Palazhanka said.

She stressed that her fiance could not be a persistent violator of prison rules because he had been placed in a disciplinary cell and then in a cell-type room upon arrival at the Mazyr prison.

"Even so, Zmitser will probably be found guilty and moved to either Zhodina or Hrodna," Ms. Palazhanka said. "This will be another torturous journey for him."

Zmitser Dashkevich, currently 31 years of age, was arrested in Minsk on December 18, 2010, on the eve of a scheduled large-scale post-election demonstration, for allegedly beating up two passers-by. Speaking during his trial, Mr. Dashkevich said that the incident was a provocation orchestrated by authorities and accused the two alleged victims of giving false testimony.

On March 24, 2011, he was sentenced to two years in a minimum-security correctional institution on a charge of "especially malicious hooliganism."

In September 2011, he refused an offer of freedom in exchange for asking Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon.

In a closed-door trial held in a prison in the Vitsyebsk region at the end of August, Mr. Dashkevich was found guilty of persistent violation of prison rules under Part One of the Criminal Code`s Article 411 and sentenced to a one-year prison term. The remaining four months of the previously imposed prison term were included in the new term.

According to a prisoners` rights group called Platforma, the administration of Correctional Institution No. 20, where Mr. Dashkevich was moved on September 19, subjected him to verbal abuse and threatened to put him in a mental hospital or place him in a disciplinary cell to be sexually abused by other inmates.

Between September 21 and October 5, Mr. Dashkevich was on hunger strike in protest against his mistreatment. According to Ms. Palazhanka, he ended the strike because the attitude of the prison administration toward him had changed radically and become more respectful.