Statement by the Human Rights Center "Viasna" on the prosecution of Vasil Parfiankou and Uladzimir Yaromenak
Statement by the Human Rights Center "Viasna"
July 16, 2013
On July 12, Minsk Pershamaiski District Department of the Investigative Committee notified former political prisoner Vasil Parfiankou that criminal proceedings against him had been instituted for violating of preventive supervision conditions set by Pershamaiski Court of Minsk. The same day, the activist was charged under Article 421 of the Criminal Code. The charge for this article was the second in a row after Vasil Parfiankou was released under the President’s decree of pardon in August 2011 after being sentenced to four years’ imprisonment under Par. 2, Art. 293 of the Criminal Code for taking part in a protest against electoral fraud during the last presidential election. In the first case, the activist was convicted on 29 May 2012 under Article 421 of the Criminal Code by Pershamaiski Court of Minsk and sentenced to six months of prison arrest.
On May 16, a criminal case with a similar accusation of violating the terms of preventive supervision was opened against another former political prisoner and a defendant in the “rioting” criminal case, an activist of the Young Front Uladzimir Yaromenak. For participating in a protest following the presidential elections, on May 14, 2011 he was sentenced by the Court of Minsk Partyzanski District to three years of imprisonment under Par. 2, Art. 293 of the Criminal Code, and in August of the same year he was pardoned by the President’s decree.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" considers the prosecution of Vasil Parfiankou and Uladzimir Yaromenak as politically motivated solely associated with the desire of the authorities to put an end to their activities, as well as an intention to intimidate other political and civil society activists.
Vasil Parfiankou and Uladzimir Yaromenak face up to one year in prison each. If found guilty and sentenced to prison terms, they will be recognized as political prisoners.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" demands:
- an immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners held in prison facilities;
- termination of criminal proceedings against Vasil Parfiankou and Uladzimir Yaromenak;
- lifting (removal from criminal records) of convictions from all persons illegally imprisoned for political reasons, that will be seen as a step towards their rehabilitation and will allow them resume their political activities.