Zmitser Dashkevich released from disciplinary segregation


Zmitser Dashkevich has been transferred from a disciplinary cell to the administrative segregation unit in the correctional institution in Horki, Mahilyow region, where he is serving a sentence, Anastasiya Palazhanka, fiancee of the leader of an opposition youth organization called Malady Front, told BelaPAN on Friday.

Inmates may be placed in administrative detention for a number of reasons, including as in post-disciplinary detention and while under investigation. They still have significantly fewer privileges than the general population.

Ms. Palazhanka, who is deputy chairperson of Malady Front, received two letters at once from Mr. Dashkevicg earlier this week.

“The conditions in administrative detention are milder than in the disciplinary unit where Zmitser was held for almost two months,” said Ms. Palazhanka. “He is now allowed to read and write letters.”

In his letter dated earlier, Mr. Dashkevich writes, “I have been only allowed to write that I am fine. So, I am writing: ‘I am fine’,” Ms. Palazhanka said.

“I know Zmitser very well and I don’t need additional words to understand what he meant,” she said. “Everybody who was once imprisoned and had his correspondence censored is aware about what he should and shouldn`t write to make sure that the letter eventually reaches relatives and friends.”

In the letter dated later, she said, Mr. Dashkevich expresses fears that his new status can mean that the prison administration wants to institute criminal proceedings against him under the Criminal Code’s Article 411 that carries a penalty of up to two years in prison for inmates guilty of repeated disruptive behavior.

While in administrative detention, which may last much longer than disciplinary segregation, Mr. Dashkevich is not allowed to accept parcels from his relatives and friends and may not spend more than 35,000 rubels ($7 at the National Bank’s exchange rate) at the prison store a day.

“Dashkevich said that no one had yet requested him to apply for a pardon,” Ms. Palazhanka said.

On March 24, a judge of the Maskowski District Court in Minsk sentenced Mr. Dashkevich to two years in a minimum-security correctional institution, finding him guilty of "especially malicious hooliganism."

He was arrested in Minsk on December 18, 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.