Will amnesty concern political prisoners?
President of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenka has passed to the House of Representatives the draft law "On amnesty in connection with the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945". Will this amnesty concern Belarusian political prisoners?
There have been determined certain categories of persons who may be exempt from punishment: those convicted of crimes which aren't serious and especially serious. Minors, pregnant women, women and single men with children under the age of 18, pensioners, disabled of groups I and II, war veterans, those who have been wounded in the service or business service, those affected by the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as some other categories of prisoners can count on amnesty.
Certain categories of convicts who can not be released, will get their sentences reduced by 1 year.
The authorities intend to exempt from criminal punishment up to 8.6 thousand people, including the release of about 2.2 thousand prisoners.
According to human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich, political prisoners will, most probably, not be covered by the amnesty.
"Their articles do not fall under the amnesty. For example, Mikalai Statkevich has been convicted for a "serious offense", and the rest have the status of "malignant offenders". This also applies to the anarchists. Therefore, they are not covered by the amnesty, not only in the form of exemption from punishment, but also in the form of reduction of their sentences. It was the same during the imprisonment of Ales Bialiatski, when amnesty was not applied to him due to his status of “malignant violator”, though he could count on reduction of his term by 1 year otherwise. Later, the penalties and the status of “malignant offender” were removed from him, and that was a political decision.”