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Write for Rights: Teenager Mikita Zalatarou sent to a child prison colony

Teenager Mikita Zalatarou was waiting for the bus in the city of Homel’s main square when the police moved in on a nearby, and largely peaceful, protest about the results of the recent presidential election. As the crowd started to run, someone told Mikita to do the same. He took the advice, but the next day police officers came to his home and arrested him. The police accused Mikita of throwing a Molotov cocktail at two officers the night before. They beat him with an electric-shock truncheon, and interrogated him without a lawyer or responsible adult present. He was then locked up for six months before being put on trial. There was no video evidence of Mikita taking part in any violence. Indeed, media reports of the demonstration did not mention mass unrest at all. Nevertheless, the judge still convicted Mikita of mass disorder and using illegal explosives, and sentenced him to five years in a child educational prison colony.

Here's how you can help: 

Send a message of support and solidarity to Mikita at: Educational Colony V.K – 2Batova 4Bobruisk213800 Mogilevskaya Obl. Belarus. In either Russian or English using a non religious card and without mentioning Amnesty. Mikita has a BMX bike and likes rap music and computer games, particularly Minecraft, which you could incorporate in your message.

You could also send an appeal letter urging the Prosecutor General to release Mikita Zalatarou pending a fair retrial. Write to Andrei Shved, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Internatsionalnaya Str.22, 220030 MinskBelarus info@prokuratura.gov.by. You should address the Prosecutor General as 'Dear Prosecutor General' and you could ask him to release Mikita Zalatarou pending a fair retrial that complies with international juvenile justice standards.

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