Dr. Yury Bandazhevsky, former director of the Medical Institute in Gomel (Belarus), is a scientist working on sanitary consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. He was the first to create an institute in Belarus, in 1989, specially dedicated to scientific work on the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
On June 2001, Yury Bandazhevsky was sentenced to eight years imprisonment on the grounds that he had received bribes from students’ parents. The institute’s Deputy Director, Vladimir Ravkov, also received an eight-year prison sentence. Bandazhevsky’s lawyer claimed that he had been convicted on the basis of two testimonies made under duress, without any material evidence. According to many human rights groups Dr. Bandazhevsky was a prisoner of conscience. Amnesty International has stated on their website “His conviction was widely believed to be related to his scientific research into the Chernobyl catastrophe and his open criticism of the official response to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster on people living in the region of Gomel.” His arrest came soon after he published reports critical of the official research being conducted into the Chernobyl incident.