Updated at 14:52,24-02-2021

Opposition activist hospitalised after 30 days in jail, hunger strike

Belsat / BelaPAN

Opposition activist Yury Rubtsou was hospitalized on Tuesday morning after spending 30 of the last 31 days in jail.

As human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka told BelaPAN, Mr Rubtsou's wife and son and associates arrived at a detention centre in Homel at 4 a. to meet the man, who was scheduled to be released at that time. However, they were told that he had already left the jail.

The family later learned that Mr Rubtsou had been taken from the jail to a police station for what was described as a conversation.

After the activist was eventually allowed to go home, his relatives took him to hospital because he was very unwell, according to Mr Sudalenka.

Mr Rubtsou, a member of an independent trade union, served a 25-day jail term in Minsk following an annual 'Charnobylski Shlyakh' (Path of Chernobyl) march staged in the city on April 26 to mark the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Mr Rubtsou wore a T-shirt that bore a ‘Lukashenka Go!’ message on its front side. The text written on the back of the white T-shirt said, ‘Arrest me. On what grounds? I am against Lukashenka.’

Mr Rubtsou did not have the T-shirt on during his trial in the Savetski District Court on April 28. When the activist expressed indignation over the fact that judge Kiryl Palulekh was hearing his case behind closed doors, he was charged with contempt of court.

One day after the activist was released, he was arrested in his home city of Homel and sentenced to five more days in jail on a charge of disorderly conduct and disobedience to police.
Mr Rubtsou held hunger strikes both during his first and second jail terms.