"22 people in one 16-18m² prison cell"

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8 thousand more prisoners can be easily put
in Belarusian prisons now. There are already 24 thousand convicts there and our
prisons are meant for 32.5 thousand people, head of the Supreme Court Valyantsin Sukala reported the
life-asserting numbers to Soviet
Byelorussia
.

Head of the human right structure "Platform
Innovation" Andrei Bandarenka partially agrees with the country's chief
judge.

Andrei
Bandarenka
: “It
is not clear: do they mean the colonies only or prisons, detention centres and
so on? If they only mean colonies - it is true - people do not have to take
turns to sleep there. But prisoners of Valadarski Street prison have to do
it."


For instance, there are only 4 prisoners
per 9 million people living in Sweden. Belarus has a similar number of citizens
and 24 thousand people are in prison.

Leader of the band "Naked Nun"
Fyodar Zhyvaleuski was released from Orsha colony in the middle of 2011. According
to Sukala, "the living conditions" were improved in the colony in that
period. But the musician did not feel it.

Fyodar
Zhyvaleuski
: “The
colony was overpopulated! 22 people could live in a 16-18 m² prison cell at a
time."


Prisoners avoid complaining to the colony administration
or higher institutions. It may get worse.

Fyodar
Zhyvaleuski
: “If
prisoners ask for more space or other improvements, the situation may become even
worse. That is why they have to endure it somehow."


Ex-political prisoner Syarhei Kavalenka is
not complaining about overpopulation either. But he did not see any vacant
cells when he was released in September 2012.

Syarhei
Kavalenka
: “Mahilyou
colony #19 has as many prisoners as it could accept. but I do not remember any
vacant prison cells there.
There were bunk beds and sometimes people
slept in the third tier."


According
to the existing norm, prisoners should be provided with two square meters of living
space. But Sukala did not mention the prison capacity, he meant the number of bunks,
Andrei Bandarenka explained. If the third tier is free, it allows him to claim that
there is no overpopulation.

The colonies have refused to discuss the
living conditions and the number of bunks. The reply that Euroradio received from
Babruisk colony was brief: "Everything is fine!"  

It is impossible to check whether the information
presented by the head of the Supreme Court and colony administrations is true.
Human rights defenders an civil activists are not allowed to visit prisons, Andrei
Bandarenka said.

Photo by: http://offline.by