When Emil was 17 he was arrested for a minor, non-violent drug offence. Today, aged 19, his future is in jeopardy as he serves an eight-year prison sentence. Take action and demand he is freed.
At 17, Emil Ostrovko had his whole life ahead of him. He loved reading and couldn’t wait to go to university. But his dreams were shattered when he was charged with ‘illicit drug trafficking as part of an organised group’ after taking an after-school courier job at a company which, he was told, sold legal smoking blends.
Investigators never looked for the owner of the company, or anyone else. Only Emil was prosecuted. After an unfair trial, Emil was given a lengthy prison sentence.
In the juvenile prison colony Emil was made to work very long hours doing manual labour, and he got frost bite from clearing the snow with his bare hands. While Emil’s treatment has improved since he was transferred to an adult colony in June, conditions for many children and young people serving sentences for drug offences are often worse than for other inmates.
Emil is believed to be one of around 15,000 people serving lengthy prison sentences in Belarus for minor, non-violent drugs offences. Now, we have a chance to change this for Emil and other people like him.
Take action now and demand that the government of Belarus:
Clear his criminal record
End the practice of imprisoning children for minor, non-violent drug offences.