12 more names on list of political prisoners

2021 2021-05-27T19:07:17+0300 2021-05-27T20:00:36+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/difamacija_ill.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Joint statement by representatives of the Belarusian human rights community

Minsk – May 27, 2021

In response to the new cases of conviction and imprisonment on defamatory charges, we, representatives of the Belarusian human rights community, once again reaffirming our repeated demands to decriminalize defamation and refrain from imprisoning individuals for insulting officials, the state, government agencies and symbols (joint statement of December 22, 2020), note the following:

We received information about the following persons imprisoned for insulting the president, government officials (police officers), judges and insulting state symbols:

Aliaksei Siamionau – sentenced by the Čyhunačny District Court of Viciebsk under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities) to two and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Dzmitry Yurkoits – sentenced by the Navahrudak District Court under Art. 391 of the Criminal Code (insulting a judge) to one and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Illia Siliankou – sentenced by the Krasnapollie District Court under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting the president) to one and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Aliaksei Lipen – sentenced by the Zavodski District Court of Minsk under Art. 369 (insulting a representative of the authorities) and Art. 364 of the Criminal Code to five years of restricted freedom in an open institution; sent to serve the sentence;

Mia Mitkevich – sentenced by the Minsk City Court under Part 1 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement to hatred on the grounds of another social affiliation - police officers) to three years in prison;

Aliaksandr Palivoda – sentenced by the Brest District Court under Art. 370 of the Criminal Code (insult of state symbols) to one year of restricted freedom in an open institution; sent to serve the sentence;

Ivan Kulko – sentenced by the Pieršamajski District Court of Viciebsk under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities) to two years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Ihar Bykouskikh – sentenced by the Kastyčnicki District Court of Hrodna under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities) to one and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Andrei Liubetski – detained on charges under Part 2 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting the president), taken into custody in the pre-trial detention center in Žodzina;

Volha Takarchuk – detained on charges under Art. 391 (insulting a judge), Art. 188 (slander against members of an election commission) and Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order); taken into custody in the pre-trial detention center in Žodzina;

Uladzimir Kolas – sentenced by the Ivanava District Court under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting the president) to one and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; sent to serve the sentence;

Liudmila Kuzniatsova – sentenced by the Pružany District Court under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting the president) to one year in prison.

In this regard, we consider the persecution and imprisonment of Aliaksei Siamionau, Dzmitry Yurkoits, Illia Siliankou, Aliaksei Lipen, Mia Mitkevich, Aliaksandr Palivoda, Ivan Kulko, Ihar Bykouskikh, Andrei Liubetski, Volha Takarchuk, Uladzimir Kolas and Liudmila Kuzniatsova to be politically motivated, as they are related to the peaceful exercise of freedom expression. The convicts are therefore political prisoners, in accordance with paragraph 3.1 (a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners.

We call on the Belarusian authorities to:

  • immediately release political prisoners Aliaksei Siamionau, Dzmitry Yurkoits, Illia Siliankou, Aliaksei Lipen, Mia Mitkevich, Aliaksandr Palivoda, Ivan Kulko, Ihar Bykouskikh, Andrei Liubetski, Volha Takarchuk, Uladzimir Kolas and Liudmila Kuzniatsova and stop the criminal prosecution against them;
  • take measures aimed at decriminalizing defamation offenses and repealing articles of the Criminal Code that provide for liability for insulting the state, state symbols and officials, namely Art. 188, 189, 367, 368, 369, 369-1, 370, 391 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, and to terminate all previously initiated criminal cases under these articles;
  • immediately release all political prisoners and end political repression against the country’s citizens.

Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Center for Legal Transformation (Lawtrend)

Belarusian Documentation Center

Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Human Constanta

FORB Initiative

Belarusian Association of Journalists

PEN Belarus

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

Legal Initiative

Latest news

Partnership

Membership