Viachaslau Rahashchuk is a taxi driver from the Belarusian city of Pinsk who was arbitrarily detained, tortured and later sentenced to six years in prison. He has remained behind bars since August 10, 2020 and remains in need of urgent medical treatment as a result of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
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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 Prosecutor General,
I am deeply concerned about the imprisonment of taxi driver Viachaslau Rahashchuk
who is suffering from serious medical conditions that have resulted from torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
On August 10, 2020 Viachaslau Rahashchuk was violently and arbitrarily arrested by at least five police officers while walking with his sister and her 12-year-old son in Pinsk. On August 11, 2020 one of Viachaslau Rahashchuk’s former cellmates contacted his mother and told her that Viachaslau Rahashchuk had been very badly beaten by prison officers. He said Viachaslau Rahashchuk had a hematoma behind his ear, three cuts to his head and bruises all over his spine. Viachaslau Rahashchuk has had a continuous ringing noise in his head and after the beatings he would lose consciousness for up to twenty minutes at a time. In May this year Viachaslau was examined by a medic at the detention centre and was assured that he was fine. However, his medical conditions have not improved; the continued requests from his family for him to be examined by an independent doctor have been declined, and he is not receiving the medical treatment he urgently requires.
On April 30, 2021 Viachaslau Rahashchuk was sentenced to six years in a strict regime colony under Article 293 Part 2 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (participating in mass riots). His appeal hearing took place on July 6, 2021 and his sentence was upheld.
I urge you to:
- Ensure that Viachaslau Rahashchuk is released immediately as he has committed no crime and like, thousands of others in Belarus since August 9, 2020, has been detained arbitrarily;
- Pending his release, immediately transfer Viachaslau Rahashchuk to a hospital with adequate medical facilities to assess and treat his deteriorating health condition.