Several people commit suicide or die every year in IK-1

Valentin Lobachev is a resident of Mogilev and a former political prisoner. Valentin graduated from the Mogilev Regional Lyceum No. 2 and studied at the Faculty of History of the Belarusian State Pedagogical University. M. Tank, but did not finish the job. Before the detention, the citizen of Mogilev worked in an online store, and then in a branch of Tekhnotar. But that, as they say, is a completely different story.

I have national-democratic views, and therefore, since 2010, I have been a member of the Belarusian Popular Front. I participated in the Square-2010 and for the first time after these events I organized and held two actions of solidarity with political prisoners in Mogilev in 2011.

Activism is a noticeable thing, especially when you are in Belarus. Valentin had long been on the lists of punishers for distributing newspapers, participating in courtyard initiatives and having an active civic position, so the arrest was only a matter of time. In 2020, Valentin Lobachev was sentenced to 7 days of arrest for a photo with national white-red-white flags against the backdrop of the local police department, assessing it as a “rally”.

I did not rule out reprisals in my direction, but I never thought that I would end up in a colony, and, to be honest, I was not very ready for this. But I don't regret anything. There I met many amazing people and saw with my own eyes everything that is hidden from the eyes of society.

In Prison-4 (Mogilev), Valentin met people convicted of non-payment of alimony, theft, hooliganism and, of course, political people like him. Among them were Yegor Mikhailov , Sergei Plonis , Rostislav Stefanovich and Dmitry Sonchik . Dmitry suffered a heart attack and a stroke in prison. In Mogilev, the administration “didn’t gesture,” so they mostly sat quietly ( note, context for 2021 ). Valentin says that he received letters only from relatives, but his cellmates received news even from abroad, and sometimes they even received money transfers from strangers and parcels. At the end of 2021, Valentin Lobachev was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison . This means that he ended up in the colony just shortly before the start of the war.

The situation in the camp was excited after the outbreak of the war. Everyone was talking about her. Administration officials tried to talk about it neutrally or supported Russia, and almost all political people were on the side of Ukraine. In general, the attitude towards the war was different, people watched TV and many believed the propaganda.

By the end of 2022, the camp was tired of the war and began to talk about it less and less. According to dissidentby , there are currently 105 political prisoners in IK-1. Another 25 people left the colony, having served their term in full. It is almost impossible to talk to everyone, but Valentin was familiar with some prisoners and communicated from time to time. Among them are Viktor Babariko, Igor Losik, Eduard Palchis, Andrey Kuznechik, Timur Rizapur, Maxim Sergeenko, Andrey Khveskovets, Eduard Zhdanko, Yuri Vlasov, Alexander Teleshman, Dmitry Grishchenko, Igor Gontovoy, Roman Karpuk, Svyatoslav Gerasimuk, Grigory Davydov, Sergey Kapanets, Evgeny Kalendo and Sergey Pruss .

“Mediazona” researched working conditions in different colonies and said that in Novopolotsk there are such types of work for prisoners as woodworking, sorting plastic granules, making plastic film, obtaining copper, burning coal, a soap factory and a bakery. So, for a year of work in recycling (separating paper from bags), obtaining copper (prisoners process cables, tearing off the sheath from them and leaving copper) and sawing firewood in the winter, Valentin Lobachev received as much as 75 rubles and 21 kopecks (26.5 euros per year) .


Certificate of earnings from IK-1, Novopolotsk

Art. 98 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Belarus states that “every person sentenced to deprivation of liberty is obliged to work”, but in accordance with Art. 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus , a person is guaranteed the “ right to work ”, and not an obligation. According to lawyers, the hierarchy of legislative acts says that the constitution has the highest legal force, and in case of discrepancy with it, the constitution operates. And the constitution, of course, must obey the universally recognized principles of international law .

If you refuse to work, then you automatically go to the ShIZO ( approx., punishment cell ). If you continue to refuse, then further PKT ( approx., a cell-type room ), and then covered ( approx., a prison where a person is serving a sentence in harsher conditions and cannot move around the territory on their own ). Therefore, people were forced to work six days a week. Nobody wants to go to the ShIZO and to the covered one.

Working conditions, according to the testimonies of various former prisoners of IK-1, were terrible. Work clothes could not be issued for a long time, and in winter it is especially difficult, because work is carried out almost all day on the street. In addition, there is a plan that must be followed, otherwise there is a risk of going to the ShIZO. At the workplace, controllers or a foreman can check that a person does not sit idle and does not sleep. So, Belarusian prisoners work for a penny, breathe smoke, plastic and dust, do not have a change of clothes or a special uniform for working in the street, no one looks at their medical contraindications. In fact, people have no right to refuse such work.

The political ones are especially controlled, they hold separate lectures once a month. The lectures show films about “collaborators” who fought on the side of Germany with a white-red-white flag. Basically, all films shown to prisoners are about the Second World War, with an emphasis on the fact that like us, traitors and traitors to the motherland, and that everyone was found even after 30 years. At the check, all those with yellow tags (this is not only political, but for the most part) stand in the first row in alphabetical order (and so not only at the check, but also when going to the canteen, to work - everywhere and always), only then prisoners without tags line up. Almost all political people sleep on the second tier. The prisoners also theoretically have time for sports - from 8.30 to 9.30 in the morning and from 20.30 to 21.30 in the evening. If a person works six days a week, then, of course, in the morning he simply cannot devote time to himself. In the evening, he can go to the local sports ground for horizontal bars, but only on condition that he has a certificate from the medical unit that he can do it. Church for political banned.


Classification of professional accounts in the colony

For example, I have a diagnosis - epilepsy. The head of the colony himself signed this certificate, but nevertheless they did not want to put me on the first tier. Perhaps if there had been an attack, then I would have been transferred to the first one. There are approximately 1-2 deaths per year in the colony. Someone hanged himself before me, every year someone kills himself or dies in the medical unit. The detachment is full of pensioners and disabled people. Only I had half of the squad. There are people on crutches and they give a certificate that they can move out of order.

Upon arrival in the colony, a report is written for each political person and he receives a violation. In Belarus, all the zones are “red” ( approx., under the influence of the administration ), but the prison hierarchy is still very clearly visible. There are no “ thieves ” in the colony, everyone is sent to a covered prison. The administration does not like those who "shake rights". Therefore, there is an opinion that if you sit quietly and do not attract attention, then there is a possibility that a person will be paid less attention. But in fact, a lot depends on what the “team from above” is. No matter how the prisoner behaves, if there is an order to send him to the covered room, then nothing can be done about it.

Eduard Palchis , for example, as soon as he arrived in the colony, he was immediately sent to the ShIZO, he stayed there for a month, then he was taken to the detachment for several days to “look at what was in the zone” and immediately after that he was sent to a covered prison.

Valentin says that all political prisoners are banned from contributing money to the fund of the colony/detachment, at the expense of which all repairs are made. And if relatives are interested in political prisoners, this does not mean that the administration will stop the pressure, it may have the opposite effect and the pressure will increase. But for example, such cases are also known: an employee of the colony, Captain Petrov Igor Aleksandrovich, was convicted for “exceeding official authority” for beating a prisoner, for 4 years in prison and a fine of 11,000 Belarusian rubles, now he is serving in IK-3 (Vitba). And it affected the entire administration, because no one wanted to be in his place. First you work in the zone, and then you sit in the zone - everyone is afraid of this. The local prosecutor's office "covers" their own and often does not initiate cases, but the prosecutor general's office periodically holds such show trials in order to keep everyone "in good shape" and fulfill the minimum plan.

If this interview is read by law enforcement officers, I would like to tell them to quit. The system punishes its own, there are enough examples of this. There is a relevant film on this topic - “Chekist”, it is about a civil war, where the main character shot people, in the end he “went crazy” from constant killings, and he himself was shot. Therefore, quit, at any moment each of you can be in the zone.

Valenti says that people with longer sentences have a harder time enduring their sentence. Everyone hopes that they will not sit until the end, but the closer the release date, the clearer that they will have to serve the full term. Before release, the pressure on political prisoners intensifies and people are released immediately from the ShIZO or PKT. Thus, the administration wants to make every effort to intimidate a person before going out.

After his release, he felt a little uneasy: constant police control, they could check his phone at any moment, they called him for interviews several times a week. The Belarusian regime is doing everything to get a person out of the country, and many people are really leaving. I also left because I want to fight injustice, but inside it is impossible to do this after leaving.

Valentin notes that many of the released are under stress, because. the pressure continues. In addition, there is simply no money for basic needs after the release. If a person decides to leave, then, of course, he needs help with housing for the first time, work and support in order to complete the necessary documents in a new country.

You need to write letters, support, be in touch. There is no need to be afraid of human rights activists, because the regime is afraid of publicity, and that is why it is necessary to shout about what is happening. Freedom to all political prisoners! Live Belarus! This regime will fall and change is just around the corner!

We collect and research information about the peculiarities of serving sentences in penitentiary institutions of Belarus (pre-trial detention center, prison, colony, IUOT) in order to analyze relevant information, provide the Belarusian society and the world community with truthful and reliable information, and use the results of surveys to completely reform this system in the future. We will be glad if you fill out the questionnaire at the link .

If you know anything about political persecution, you can report this information to human rights defenders through any of the channels indicated (including sending anonymous information through the site). Recording repression is important in order to be able to provide assistance, disseminate information, and provide it to international structures so that not a single case goes unpunished in the future. In addition, the lists of political prisoners and those subject to repression will be used to rehabilitate the persecuted.

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In this article:

Eduard Aleksandrovich Palchis
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In custody: 1393 days
Hometown: Minsk
Date of birth 28.10.1990
Address for letters: Turma №4, Mogilev, Krupskaya 99A, 212011
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Well-known Belarusian political blogger and public figure, author of the Palchys telegram channel. He was the organizer of events and concerts "BNR-100", "BNR-101". He was detained on September 27, 2020 as part of a criminal case regarding mass riots.

On August 11, 2022, he was transferred to prison regime.

Trial outcome 17.12.2021:

13 years of imprisonment under strict security conditions

After the sentence comes into effect, it is only possible to write letters to a prisoner. According to article 85 of the Penal Enforcement Code, prisoners cannot receive money transfers from persons who are not family members. Parcels are also only possible from relatives. If you want to help, help families directly, if this option is available on the prisoner's card.
Rostislav Olegovich Stefanovich
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In custody: 1391 day
folder Categories of cases: Election campaign
Hometown: Minsk
Date of birth 12.05.1988
Number of children: 2 children
Address for letters: IK №17, 213004, Shklov, ul. 1-ya Zavodskaya, 8
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A member of the expanded Coordination Council, he was detained and beaten by riot police on September 29, 2020.

Accused of participating in “radical” telegram channels.

Trial outcome 19.07.2021:

8 years in a medium-security prison

After the sentence comes into effect, it is only possible to write letters to a prisoner. According to article 85 of the Penal Enforcement Code, prisoners cannot receive money transfers from persons who are not family members. Parcels are also only possible from relatives. If you want to help, help families directly, if this option is available on the prisoner's card.
Sergey Romualdovich Plonis
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In custody: 1388 days
Hometown: Minsk
Date of birth 14.06.1973
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Sergey worked as a system administrator in the field of local networks and video surveillance. He was detained on October 2, 2020 in connection with a “radical trend” telegram chat. Charges were brought under Art. 293 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.

Trial outcome 19.07.2021:

8 years in a medium-security prison

After the sentence comes into effect, it is only possible to write letters to a prisoner. According to article 85 of the Penal Enforcement Code, prisoners cannot receive money transfers from persons who are not family members. Parcels are also only possible from relatives. If you want to help, help families directly, if this option is available on the prisoner's card.
Political prisoners
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In custody: 1254 days
folder Categories of cases: Case of the "Civil Self-Defense Units"
Hometown: Minsk
Date of birth 07.12.1994
Address for letters: IK №17, 213004, Shklov, ul. 1-ya Zavodskaya, 8
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He is accused of setting fire to a T72 tank in a military train at the Ozerishche railway station in Stepyanka by throwing a Molotov cocktail with the inscription “OGSB” at it on the night of January 31. According to the prosecution, Mikhailov did this out of “his political views,” but the accused himself denies this in court.

At the end of December 2021, it became known about Yegor’s transfer from Prison No. 4 of VIC No. 17.

At the beginning of October 2023, it became known that Yegor was transferred to pre-trial detention center-1, he had another trial on October 5, 2023. The political prisoner was charged with Art. 342 part 1 (organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them). The result of the trial was another 6 months in prison.

On December 12, 2023, an appeal hearing was held under Article 342, Part 1, and the verdict entered into force.

Trial outcome 05.10.2023:

10 years in a penal colony.

After the sentence comes into effect, it is only possible to write letters to a prisoner. According to article 85 of the Penal Enforcement Code, prisoners cannot receive money transfers from persons who are not family members. Parcels are also only possible from relatives. If you want to help, help families directly, if this option is available on the prisoner's card.
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In custody: 999 days
Hometown: Minsk
Date of birth 26.10.1975
Was in: IK-2IK №2, 213800, Bobruysk, ul. Sikorskogo, 1
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According to the indictment, Dmitry Sonchik insulted and threatened the lives of four people in comments on one of the Telegram channels during 2020-2021. The victims were A. Perekhvatko from the Ivatsevichi District Department of Internal Affairs, the head of the Nesvizh District Department of Internal Affairs A. Grinkevich, senior lieutenant of the Nesvizh District Department of Internal Affairs R. Pranevich and an employee of the GUBOPiK A. Aleksa.

In the last word, the only thing that Sonchik said was congratulating his sister and mother, who were in the courtroom, on the upcoming Mother's Day. All the time he was behind bars in handcuffs.

On March 23, 2024, he was released after fully serving the sentence imposed by the court.

Trial outcome:

3 years in prison .

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In custody: 494 days
Hometown: Mogilev
Date of birth 15.05.1991
Was in: IK-1IK No. 1, 211440, Novopolotsk, st. Technical, 8
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Released
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Resident of Mogilev. According to the prosecution, in June 2020, Valentin Lobachev posted a picture in one of the banned Telegram channels with an inscription that, according to the state prosecution, was offensive to Alexander Lukashenko.

On February 17, 2023, he was released after the expiration of his sentence.

Trial outcome:

1.5 years of imprisonment in a penal colony

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