Political prisoners Ihar Liashchenia, Viktar Kuushynau are free
Viktar Kuushynau, product director at the PandaDoc software company, has been released after spending nearly 12 months in pre-trial detention, his wife said.
Kuushynau was the last of the four PandaDoc employees to be still held in custody on politically motivated charges. The three other detainees were released in October 2020.
The PandaDoc managers were arrested on September 2, 2020, after security forces raided the company’s office in Minsk. Viktar Kuushynau, Dzmitry Rabtsevich, Yuliya Shardyka and Uladzislau Mikhalap were suspected of theft through abuse of office, then charged with fraud. PandaDoc’s founders linked the criminal charges to a project of assisting former law enforcement officers who left their jobs for political reasons. Mikita Mikado, CEO at PandaDoc, announced the suspension of the project.
Political prisoner Ihar Liashchenia was released yesterday, according to his daughter Anastasiya. Liashchenia will remain under travel restrictions. He was also forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
The former Belarusian ambassador to Slovakia has been in prison since August 11. Liashchenia was arrested as part of a criminal investigation into the “mass riots” that allegedly took place in Minsk following the rigged election of August 2020. The authorities said the former official might be linked to “committing acts that grossly violated public order.”
In 2020, Liashchenia supported the peaceful protests in Belarus, condemned the violence by security forces and resigned. Aliaksandr Lukashenka fired him and stripped him of his diplomatic rank.
According to the media, Liashchenia’s persecution stems from his role in an online platform called “Shod”, a non-partisan civil initiative created to foster citizen representation in the government of the country.