Belarusian jailed for satirical drawing dies behind bars


A Belarusian man sentenced to jail over a satirical drawing of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has died behind bars, the country’s leading rights organization reported on Monday, ABC News reports.

Mikalai Klimovicz, a 61-year-old blogger and activist from southern Belarus, died on Sunday while in prison in the northeastern city of Vitebsk, just two months into his sentence, the Viasna Human Rights Center said in a statement. As of Monday, 1,493 people are considered political prisoners in Belarus, according to Viasna.

Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Monday demanded an independent medical examination of Klimovicz’s body, and said that “hundreds of political prisoners with serious health problems” risked suffering a similar fate in Belarus.

“Relatives and lawyers should be immediately allowed to visit prisoners, the possibility to pass on medicines to prisons should be reinstated,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a Telegram post, alleging that there was “no treatment” available in Belarusian jails.

Friends and family have previously expressed concern over his treatment and access to medical care during his detention, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, The Daily Beast adds. Andrej Stryzha, the head of the Belarusian human rights organization BYPOL, shared a photo of Klimovich Monday in a social media post calling for donations to help cover his funeral costs.


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