Bishop of United Church of Evangelical Christians Siarhiej Cvor urges the authorities to investigate the unlawful activity of the administration of the correctional institution No. 20 in Mazyr against Zmicier Dashkievich, BelaPAN says.
Such a request was sent to the Committee on Religions and Nationalities, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Penal Department of the Interior Ministry, the BCD press-service says.
The bishop says that information on prison administration oppressing Dashkievich appeared in mass media on September 26.
The prison administration representatives are said to defame Protestant church and Zmicier Dashkievich’s being an evangelical Christian. They also threatened to torture him.
“Zmicier Dashkievich has been a member of Minsk’s evangelical Christian church of the St. John the Forerunne since 2006.
“His arrest and the trial over him for alleged beating of two men arises many questions as such actions are not common for believers. Furthermore, the court trial does the same as the victims has never been seen.
“We are alarmed on the information about oppressing Dashkievich in prison. Moreover, we are the most surprised at the fact that the chief of the prison, Jury Zbarouski, who calls himself an orthodox and also is obliged maintain the law and order by his position, allows himself to show disrespect for evangelical Christians,” Cvor noted.
“Many former prisoners leave their criminal life and become normal members of society thanks to the activity of evangelical Christians,” the bishop highlighted.
He also stated that any threats were inadmissible for both believers and non-believers and noted that it was not a surprise such threats lead to the critical form of protest which was Dashkievich’s hunger strike.
The bishop calls on to hold a comprehensive investigation of lawless actions against Zmicier Dashkievich in the correctional institution No. 20 and to prevent any such actions in future.
- The leader of an opposition youth group called Young Front 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, Dashkievich said that the incident was a provocation orchestrated by authorities and accused the two alleged victims of giving false testimony.
- On March 24, 2011, the activist 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 Aliaksandr Lukashenka for a presidential pardon.
- In a closed-door trial held last month 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.