Nine political prisoners in Belarus are in critical situation

9 political prisoners in Belarus are in critical situation and freedom for 32 activists is restricted, a new report by the Intarnational Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation in Belarus, Human Rights Centre Viasna, reveals.

Evidence gathered by FIDH and Viasna clearly contradicts the statement made at a press conference on February 14, 2013 by the Belarusian Deputy Prosecutor, General Alyaksey Stuk, that the detention conditions of the 9 detainees currently identified by our organisations as political prisoners in Belarusian prisons and penal colonies are not different from the conditions of other prisoners. The 9 detainees suffer regular punishments that sharply exacerbate the already difficult conditions of their detention by restricting their means of support and quality of food and medical assistance. Often deprived of meetings with relatives, and subject to limits on correspondence, and constant pressure to make them write petitions for pardon, the physical ordeal of these individuals is intensified by psychological ordeals, qualifying detention conditions as inhuman and degrading treatment, prohibited by the articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 16 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

FIDH and Viasna hereby note that in addition to these 9 political prisoners, a number of unimprisoned Belarusian citizens are currently subject to severe restrictions imposed following prosecution in politically motivated criminal cases. This number includes 32 former political prisoners at the time of this publication.

The full text of the report is available below