Emil Ostrovko (Emil Astrauko in Belarusian) was beaten up by police and arrested in 2018, at the age of 17, accused of distributing illicit drugs. Emil had got an after-school job as a courier for an online company. His employer had told him the parcels he was delivering contained legal smoking mixtures.
After spending months detained, Emil received a 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking, later reduced to eight years when some charges were dropped. Investigators never looked for the owner of the company, nor anyone else. Only Emil was prosecuted.
Emil is one of around 15,000 people serving lengthy prison sentences in Belarus for petty drugs offences. They are treated far worse than other offenders and made to do long hours of hard labour. Emil wasn’t allowed to carry his asthma medicine and got frostbite from clearing snow with his bare hands. Things got a little better when he went to adult prison, but Emil’s youth and potential are being wasted.
Emil Vadimovich Ostrovko
Correctional Colony Number 2
Ul. Sikorskogo 1, otryad 1
Information provided by Amnesty International