Updated at 14:38,23-10-2020

Olga Bondarenko: There is no law inside the country


Dmitry Bondarenko the political prisoner was denied a conditional release, despite serious health problems. This decision was adopted by the commission on January 4. However, the public learned about it just in today's afternoon.

UDF.BY correspondent talked to the wife of political prisoner Olga Bondarenko about the reasons for refusal, about Dmitry's health and a possibility of his release.

- How do you think, why the conditional release was denied to your husband?

- Conditional release is an easy and legal way, when one can release a person without any appeal for pardon. But even by means of this legal way, they don't want to release without the appeal. It's not the penal colony's decision: the authorities are waiting for prisoners to sign papers. This was expected. After all, if they wanted to release, they could do it earlier, without waiting for the Parole Commission.

And all other legal methods don't work. Don't work from the very beginning, because the court and the punishment were illegal.

- Today, the increasing pressure on political prisoners is often explained exactly by the purpose of forcing to write an appeal for pardon, and then to release them. Do you think, they will be released in this case?

- It's unknown, because they only promised to consider the appeal. One thing is clear: without appeals they won't be released for sure. That's how it was stated by Lukashenko: if they write - we'll consider, don't write - they will stay. This was confirmed by a refusal at the Parole Commission.

-But how it will be on your opinion?

- Honestly, I have no idea. Because, I don't think that anyone is going to write the appeal. So why to think about these hypothetical things? If someone wanted to write - they would have already written.

But the fact is that to write - means to admit the guilt. Guilt of what? That one came out on election day on a square to see the election results? To find oneself guilty of this - I do not know, it's very difficult.

How is Dmitry's health now? What are the consequences of the spine's surgery?

- He wrote on December 31, that although was the New Year, he was tired like an old man: all hurt. Probably, he will need very good medical treatment, so that he began to feel at least fairly well: illness is too serious. He needs a good recovery, normal psychological conditions ... And now in this situation he can only survive and hold on. It's difficult to feel good.

- Where is he currently located?

- The 17th detachment of the 15th penal colony in Mogilev. As I was told by those sitting there, it's the regime unit which is isolated: everyone cooperate with the colony's administration. He is under strong psychological pressure and was even subjected to provocations.

- What do you plan to do next?

- We will continue to appeal the commission on disability. Perhaps, we'll write to the Supreme Court once again: there is no instance which is above, but one can write to the Supreme Court many times.

And of course, be together with the other wives and contact the international community. This is probably the main way. Or one of the main ways, because there is no law inside the country. We're trying to go all the legal ways to make clear, that within the legal field we're doing our best. But in a country, where the law is not always applied and not for everyone, it's hard.

Dmitry Bondarenko was a trusted person of the presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov during the 2010 elections. After the December events he was sentenced to two years imprisonment in a penal colony. Immediately after his arrest his chronic diseases were exacerbated, and in July 2011 he underwent a spine surgery. On August 20 one third of his sentence was expired, and by the law Bondarenko had a right for a commutation of sentence, but he was refused. On December 27 the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against sentence.