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Belarusian blogger who was jailed over satirical drawing of President Alexander Lukashenko dies in jail

A Belarusian man sentenced to jail over a satirical drawing of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has died behind bars, the nation’s main rights group reported on Monday.

Mikalai Klimovicz, a 61-year-old blogger and activist from southern Belarus, died on Sunday whereas in jail within the northeastern metropolis of Vitebsk, simply two months into his sentence, the Viasna Human Rights Center mentioned in an announcement.

Klimovicz in February was sentenced to 1 12 months in jail for drawing a caricature of Lukashenko and sharing it on social media. He suffered a number of bouts of coronary heart illness throughout his trial.

Belarusian authorities on Monday confirmed Klimovicz’s dying, however didn’t make clear what precipitated it. The Viasna assertion mentioned that Klimovicz was registered as disabled on account of his sickness, a stroke and a posh coronary heart operation that he had undergone, however was denied treatment whereas in jail.


“Before the decision, the blogger mentioned that he might die behind bars, as he must take a considerable amount of robust medicines,” the Viasna assertion mentioned.

During his trial, Klimovicz advised reporters that the actual cause for his prosecution was his “very agency” help of Ukraine and opposition to Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, in addition to to Lukashenko’s insurance policies.

Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, tweeted that she “deplored” Klimovicz’s dying. “My ideas are along with his household and pals,” she added.

 Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks on the Grand Kremlin Palace on April 6, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. A blogger who was jailed over a satirical drawing of Lukashenko has died in jail. (Contributor/Getty Images)

Belarus was rocked by mass protests in 2020 following a presidential election that gave Lukashenko — in energy since 1994 — a brand new time period in workplace, however that was extensively regarded by the opposition and Western nations as fraudulent. Authorities responded with a large crackdown that noticed over 35,000 individuals arrested, hundreds crushed by police and dozens of NGOs and impartial media being shut down.


Opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Monday demanded an impartial medical examination of Klimovicz’s physique, and mentioned that “a whole lot of political prisoners with critical well being issues” risked struggling an identical destiny in Belarus.

“Relatives and legal professionals needs to be instantly allowed to go to prisoners, the likelihood to cross on medicines to prisons needs to be reinstated,” Tsikhanouskaya mentioned in a Telegram publish, alleging that there was “no therapy” accessible in Belarusian jails.

“Not another particular person ought to die,” she added.

According to Viasna, 1,498 political prisoners stay behind bars in Belarus, together with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning pro-democracy activist Ales Bialiatski.

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