Young man convicted for drug offense, mother on hunger strike in front of prison

Photo: Vyachka Kasiner/Facebook
Photo: Vyachka Kasiner/Facebook

Maryna Matsulevich from Mothers 328, a grassroots movement of mothers whose children were convicted on drug-related charges to inadequately long prison terms, has spent the night on a bench near the detention centre in Minsk.  She demands to reconsider the sentence pronounced to her son Roman. He was found guilty of violating Article 328 of the Criminal Code and is now awaiting transport to the prison.

Maryna streams her hunger strike on Facebook. The last stream was at 11 p.m. on 7 October 7 The woman was complaining about rain and cold weather and said that she might have to go home if the weather did not get better. As of the morning on 8 October, the woman is still near the detention centre.

Roman’s term of imprisonment was recently reduced from 14 to 13 years. However, the punishment should be milder because Roman cooperated with investigators, Maryna says. Furthermore, those who hand over all their drugs to the police and actively help to stop the illegal distribution of drugs can be exempt form responsibility (a note to article 328), the woman adds.

Maryna Matsulevich is trying to prove that there were violations during the investigation. Her son bought the drug but was accused of being part of an organized criminal group only because the police had tracked other drug users’ phone signals on GPS.