Jailed teenager hopes to study again
Seventeen-year-old Emil Ostrovko was waiting for his girlfriend at a bus stop on the outskirts of Minsk in April 2018 when police officers arrived, beat him, and arrested him for distributing illicit drugs. Earlier in the year, Emil got an afterschool job as a courier for an online company. His employer told him the parcels contained legal smoking materials.
After months in detention, Emil was given a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking, later reduced to eight years. The investigators did not look for the owner of the company or anyone else: only Emil was prosecuted.
He is one of around 15,000 children and young people in Belarus serving long prison sentences for petty drug offences. They are treated far worse than other prisoners and forced to do long hours of hard labour. Emil got frostbite from clearing snow with his bare hands. The situation is a little better now he is in an adult prison. But Emil still dreams of returning to his studies.
Send a message of support and solidarity.
Emil Vadimovich Ostrovko
Correctional Colony Number 2
Ul. Sikorskogo 1, otryad 1
Russian, Belarussian or English
Suggested message (keep short):
Emil is keen on studying and reading, and is particularly interested in economics, business and innovation.
Please send him the latest news on these fields, alongside other inspirational or interesting stories.
- Send a religious card or message? Emil is Catholic, so you can send him Christmas greetings
- Send an Amnesty card or mention Amnesty? Yes
- Include my name and address? Yes
Send an appeal letter
Urge the Prosecutor General to free Emil Ostrovko.
Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Internatsionalnaya Str. 22
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General
- To immediately release Emil Ostrovko and ensure his criminal record is cleared.
- To ensure no child in Belarus is prosecuted or imprisoned for minor, non-violent drug-related offences.