09/30/2019

Urgent Action: Imprisoned Teenager Denied Medical Care (Belarus: UA 129.19)


Vladislav Sharkovsky is serving a 10-year prison sentence at a juvenile colony for a minor, non-violent drug offense. His health has been deteriorating since his arrest in March 2018, but he has been denied adequate health care by the prison administration and has been threatened with reprisals unless his mother stops complaining about his prison conditions. The authorities must urgently provide the health care he requires and protect him from any form of harassment or reprisals.

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Maj.-Gen. Oleg Matkin
Head of Penitentiary Directorate
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Brilevskaya Str., 14a
Minsk, 220039, Belarus
Fax: +375 17 215 54 57
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Dmitry Basik
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: 202 986 9420 I Fax: 202 986 1805
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Head of Penitentiary Directorate,

I am concerned about the treatment of Vladislav Sharkovsky who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for a minor, non-violent drug-related offense in Penal Colony Number 22 (‘Volchie Nory’) in Ivatsevichi.

Vladislav has developed health complications following his arrest and imprisonment, and has been suffering from headaches, worsening cough, blurred vision and stomach pain for the last 14 months. Furthermore, he has developed trauma after discovering the dead body of another teenager inmate who had committed suicide. Despite multiple requests, the prison administration has not provided him with the adequate medical and psychological care he requires. According to his mother, Vladislav was pressured by prison officials to write a note stating that he did not require any medical assistance. He has been threatened by the prison administration that he will face reprisals if his mother continues to complain about his prison conditions.

Vladislav was 17 years old when he became a courier for an anonymous internet-based company which paid him for collecting and delivering packages. According to his indictment, he was distributing illegal drugs as part of an organized group, for which he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, under Part 4 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code. This is despite Vladislav not knowing who his anonymous employer was, and despite the employer remaining “unknown” to the prosecution.

Vladislav’s right to a fair trial and his rights under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child have been violated. Following his arrest, still a child, he did not have access to his family, nor to a lawyer until a day later, and during this time he was forced to sign a self-incriminating statement dictated by the investigating officer. The current failure to provide Vladislav with adequate health care may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. I urge you to ensure that Vladislav is provided with the health care he requires and protected from any form of harassment or reprisals.

Yours sincerely,

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