The European Union learnt with dismay and sadness that political prisoner of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus Mikalai Klimovich has died in the Vitebsk prison colony no. 3 last week. He was sentenced to a year in prison for posting a caricature depicting Alexander Lukashenko on a social network. He had a serious heart condition which was known to the judge and the prosecutor before the sentencing. He is unfortunately just one of many Belarusians who are in prison despite serious health conditions, suffering from lack of access to medication and medical assistance.
The death of Mikalai Klimovich is yet another proof of the regime’s complete disregard for peoples’ lives and rights. It also demonstrates a plain disregard of Belarus’ obligations under international law and of the calls by the international community to stop the senseless repression. In its last resolution on Belarus adopted in March, the Human Rights Council highlighted concerns regarding the situation of detained persons in need of medical attention and called for their immediate release for humanitarian reasons.
The EU reiterates its demand for immediate access to former presidential candidate Victor Barbaryka, who was reportedly hospitalised following mistreatment in prison. The EU also reiterates its call for an inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the death of political prisoner Vitold Ashurak on 21 May 2021. The EU reiterates its demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The EU will continue its efforts to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.