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Free Emil Ostrovko, serving 8 years in jail for a petty drug offense


Emil Ostrovko was 17 when he was arrested and badly beaten by police officers. His employer told him that the parcels he was delivering contained legal smoking mixtures — it was a lie; he was delivering illegal drugs. Now 19, he is serving an eight-year prison sentence for a minor drug offense, crushing his plans to go to university.

Emil Ostrovko was waiting for his girlfriend at a bus stop on the outskirts of Minsk in April 2018. They were going to spend the day together. Suddenly police officers arrived — they beat Emil and arrested him for distributing illicit drugs.

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 drug offenses. They are treated far worse than other offenders and made to do long hours of hard labor.

Take Action: Tell the Prosecutor General of Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release Emil.

Prosecutor General
Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus