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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 09 Imprisoned teenager denied medical care
UA 129/19
Abgeschlossen am 8. November 2019
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14.10.19: Positive Impact

Vladislav was recently seen by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor who operated on him immediately to remove a growth in his throat. On Friday, his mother told us that he is recovering well.

Vladislav’s mother is convinced this is a direct result of the Urgent Action published on 27 September, as his medical needs had been consistently ignored since March 2018.

There are still some health issues that remained unsolved, and we therefore ask you to continue writing appeals to the prison authorities.

We will keep you posted on any further developments
Many thanks to all those who have taken action already!

Imprisoned teenager denied medical care

AI-Index: EUR 49/1119/2019

Vladislav Sharkovsky is serving a 10-year prison sentence at a juvenile colony for a minor, non-violent drug offence. His health has been deteriorating since his arrest in March 2018, but he has been denied adequate health care by the prison administration and has been threatened with reprisals unless his mother stops complaining about his prison conditions. The authorities must urgently provide the health care he requires and protect him from any form of harassment or reprisals.


On 16 March 2018, 17 years-old Vladislav Sharkovsky was arrested and accused of belonging to an organised group engaged in distributing illegal drugs. At the time, he was a courier collecting and delivering packages for an anonymous internet-based employer. On 4 September 2018 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison under Part 4 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. The organiser or other members of the criminal group have not been identified, and Vladislav was the only member who has been prosecuted.

At the time of his arrest, Vladislav Sharkovsky was unwell and had high fever but was not provided with adequate medical care. His health has continued to deteriorate, in pre-trial detention and subsequently in the penal colony, but according to his mother he has not received adequate health care. On 8 March 2019, Vladislav Sharkovsky found the body of a teenager who had committed suicide in the penal colony and has been deeply traumatised by the incident. He has been unable to sleep well and has been suffering from nightmares since.

Belarus’s approach to drugs is based on highly punitive laws and practice. No official statistics is available, but it is estimated that thousands of children and young people are serving lengthy sentences for minor, non-violent drug-related offences. In some cases reported to Amnesty International, those arrested have not willingly committed any crime but have been framed for non-cooperation with the drug-combating officials who tried to use them to incriminate others.

Children accused of drug-related offences face countless human rights violations from the moment they are detained, during the investigation and trial, and once they are sentenced, many are held in conditions that violate international law and standards.

The Convention of the Rights of the Child, to which Belarus is a state party, establishes that the arrest or detention of children must be a measure of last resort, and must be for the shortest appropriate period of time. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has consistently called on states to avoid the treatment of children as criminals for their use or possession of drugs and has recommended states not to subject children who use drugs to criminal proceedings. Moreover, the Committee has recommended states to consider alternatives to criminalization when dealing with children accused of having committed minor, non-violent drug-related offences.

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