Statement of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee on the sentence to Vasil Parfiankou
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the republican NGO “Belarusian Helsinki Committeee” regard the sentencing of the public activist Vasil Parfiankou to imprisonment for violation of preventive supervision as politically motivated persecution.
In February 2011 Vasil Parfiankou was sentenced to four years' imprisonment under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (" participation in mass disorders") for participation in protest against electoral fraud during the presidential election, and in August of the same year was pardoned under a presidential decree.
After his release, Vasil Parfiankou continued public activities and was repeatedly detained for participation in protests in support of political prisoners who have remain behind bars.
After participating in a peaceful assembly dedicated solidarity with political prisoners on 19 December 2011 he was arrested for 12 days , after which on 5 January 2012 the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk established preventive supervision over him for one year. Thus, preventive supervision was established in order to prevent his further social activities, including participation in peaceful assemblies on the socio-political issues in the country.
On 29 May 2012 the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk sentenced Vasil Parfiankou to six months of arrest under Art. 421 of the Criminal Code (for breach of preventive supervision set by the court). This verdict was determined by the Human Rights Center " Viasna" as politically motivated persecution, and Vasil Parfiankou was declared a political prisoner.
On 6 December 2013 the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk repeatedly tried Vasil Parfiankou for breach of Art. 421 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to one year's imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the republican NGO “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” condemn politically motivated persecution, aimed at stopping or impeding the socio-political activity of Vasil Parfiankou and notes that the proceedings in this case did not meet fair trial standards, and the penalty imposed is clearly not proportional to those violations, whichVasil Parfiankou is accused of.
It should be noted that according to FIDH and the Human Rights Center "Viasna", all sorts of restrictions – from prophylactic to preventive supervision – were imposed on 32 people who had been previously convicted for participation in the events of 19 December 2010 and released from prison without cancelation of prior convictions. Preventive supervision was also established over the recently released political prisoners Z. Dashkevich and A. Frantskevich.
These circumstances suggest that these restrictions are part of the government's control over social and political activists. Prosecution for violations of the previously installed preventive supervision towards V. Parfiankou, V. Yaromenak and the establishment of preventive supervision over P. Vinahradau are eloquent examples of such control.
In this regard, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the Belarusian Helsinki Committeedemand:
1. to discontinue the practice of prosecuting political and social activists, including the cessation of the prosecution of Vasil Parfiankou and his release;
2. to remove (cancel) the convictions of previously released political prisoners, either pardoned or released due to the end of their prison terms, thusproviding them the opportunity to participate fully in the political life of the country, including the ability to participate in future election campaigns.
Minsk, 6 December 2013