Belarussian dissident commits suicide

Jana Polakowa, jailed for working for human rights issues in Solihorsk, Belarus, took her own life.

In March, Polakowa, 36-years-old, was sentenced to two and a half years of forced labour in a special camp in Solihorsk, central Belarus, for allegedly filing a false report against an officer of the military.

The conflict between the woman and military officer started last fall during the campaign for parliamentary elections when Polakowa was apparently forced to nullify signatures nominating Olga Kazulina, daughter of the former jailed politician, Alaksander Kazulin who opposed Aleksander Lukashenko in the 2006 presidential elections.

Polakowa took the military officer who ordered her to destroy the supporting signatures to court. The hearing was considered an 'express trial' - after the formal accusations were made, Polakowa was not given time to prepare the documents required for a case, despite the fact that Belarusian law requires a five-day break.

"It was a lawsuit like I have never seen," stated Walery Szczukin, well-known defender of human rights in Belarus. "Jana, having experience in law, after this farce of a court proceeding, felt crushed and broken," he added.

Jana Polakowa was found dead on Saturday in her apartment in Solihorsk after having hung herself. The human rights activists funeral took place on Monday and was attended by approximately 200 people. (mmj)

Source: Rzeczpospolita, Wprost



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