Belarusian artist who composted Lukashenko’s office dies in prison | Human Rights Issues

Artist and political activist Ales Pushkin, 57, has died in prison in what his wife said was “absurd”.

A Belarusian artist who once dumped manure outside the office of President Alexander Lukashenko He died in prison where he spent five years for political reasons, human rights activists and his wife said.

Ales Pushkin, 57, died in prison on Tuesday in Grodno in western Belarus of unknown causes, although he was not known to have been ill, according to the human rights center Viasna.

Pushkin’s wife, Janina Demuch, told The Associated Press that the artist “died in the intensive care unit of the prison under unknown circumstances”.

There was no comment from the Belarusian authorities.

Pushkin was a political musician and artist, whose head was often Lukashenka, the dictator of the country. The artist painted Lukashenko in hell, surrounded by riot police, on a fresco in a church in the Belarusian city of Bobr.

In 1999, Pushkin was sentenced to two years for “feces on the President”, in which he rolled feces on the door of the presidential office in the capital Minsk.

Soldiers attempt to remove Ales Pushkin after he brought feces to the Presidential Palace of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk in 1999. [File: VF/WAW via Reuters]

Pushkin was actively involved in the protests of political opponents.

In March 2021, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for inciting hatred and “insulting state symbols”. Incidentally, at one of his exhibitions, Pushkin painted Belarus – a member of the post-war anti-Soviet war – who had allied with the Nazis during World War II.

At his sentencing, Pushkin stripped in protest, and was imprisoned for 13 days.

Belarus was after being caught up in mass protests while Lukashenko was re-elected in August 2020 in an opposition vote and the West denounced him as a liar.

The authorities responded with a brutal crackdown that led to the arrest of more than 35,000 people, police crackdowns and the closure of many non-governmental organizations and independent media.

According to Viasna, Belarus has imprisoned around 1,500 political prisoners, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Ales Bialiatski.

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said that Belarus has lost one of its “talented” and “fearless children” with the death of Pushkin who “died a political prisoner of the state”, which Lukashenko and his “friends” carried responsibility.

“Ales used his skills to fight for freedom and build a new Belarus without violence. He dreamed of a free & democratic Belarus. Now we must continue his work & fulfill his dreams,” Tsikhanouskaya wrote on Twitter.

“Dictators are afraid of artists,” he said.

“They hold a mirror to the world, which cruel people are afraid to look into. I believe this tragedy will be a wake-up call to the world. How many people must die in prison?” he added.

“I want all countries to do something about this death and the abuse that is being done to political prisoners.”

Lukashenko’s regime, which has been in place for years, has become increasingly isolated after brutally suppressing protests and allowing Russia to use Belarusian territory to launch its invasion of Ukraine.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *