Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

Environmental activist complains about "inhuman" detention conditions

Belarusian environmental activist Tatsyana Novikava has filed complaints with the Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office and the Minsk city office of the Investigative Committee about what she describes as cruel and inhuman treatment that she was subjected to during her five-day stay in the detention center on Akrestsina Street in July.

Ms. Novikava was arrested together with Russian environmental activist Andrei Ozharovsky on July 18, an hour before they were to deliver a petition against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus to the Russian embassy on the occasion of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Minsk. Both activists were sentenced to jail the following day.

Ms. Novikava said that the conditions in the jail violated her right not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to the woman, inmates in the jail are not provided with separate bunks, while its stench-filled cells are damp and cold.

Ms. Novikava, a cancer patient, had undergone surgery and courses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy shortly before the jailing.

"It was unbearable for me to be in such conditions during the detention. On the second day I became ill, but they refused to call an ambulance," she said.

The activist accused jail officers of denying her medication that she has to take daily to prevent metastases.

In her complaints, Ms. Novikava asked the city prosecutor's office to order the interior ministry to improve conditions in the jail.

She also urged the Investigative Committee to institute criminal proceedings in connection with the denial of medical care to her in the detention center.