Viasna statement on conviction and sentencing of Vasil Parfiankou
On 29 May, Minsk Pershamaiski District Court sentenced civil activist Vasil Parfiankou to six months of arrest for violating the restrictions of a preventive supervision imposed by a court under Art. 421 of the Criminal Code.
In February 2011,Vasil Parfiankou was sentenced to four years of imprisonment under Par. 2 Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (“participation in mass riots”) for involvement in the 19 December 2010 post-election protest. He was later pardoned by the President’s decree in August 2011.
After his release, Vasil Parfiankou continued civil activities and was repeatedly detained for involvement in protests in support of Belarusian prisoners of conscience that are still held in prison.
Today’s verdict is directly linked to Vasil Parfiankou’s earlier persecution. We view it as an ongoing harassment against the activists convicted as a result of the events of 19 December 2010, as well as an attempt to intimidate the pro-active representatives of Belarusian society.
With great circumspection and concern, the Human Rights Center “Viasna” has to state that preventive supervision has also been used against youth activists Uladzimir Yaromenak and Pavel Vinahradau, which may result in their criminal prosecution for violating parole restrictions.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” views the sentencing of Vasil Parfiankou as a politically motivated decision, and will consider the activist a political prisoner from the moment when his imprisonment starts.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” strongly urges to:
- put an end to political persecution of all the civil activists;
- promptly release all the political prisoners;
- remove from official records the conviction of the persons sentenced as a result of the 19 December 2010 events, which will be viewed as a step towards their rehabilitation and will enable the individuals to resume their civil and political activities.
Minsk, 29 May 2012