In April, the human rights situation in Belarus remained consistently poor with a clear tendency to deteriorate. 11 political prisoners (Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Ales Bialiatski, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Eduard Lobau, Artsiom Prakapenka, Pavel Seviaryents, Mikalai Statkevich and Yauhen Vaskovich) were still kept in jail; 2 persons continued to serve their terms of personal restraint (Sviataslau Baranovich and Dzmitry Miadzvedz); 8 more still had suspended or conditional prison terms (Andrei Dzmitryieu, Aliaksandr Fiaduta, Iryna Khalip, Siarhei Martsaleu, Uladzimir Niakliayeu, Andrei Pachobut, Vital Rymasheuski, Siarhei Vazniak) yatoslav Baranovitch).
March was marked by the activation of the diplomatic relations between the EU countries and the Belarusian authorities, which was an important aspect for understanding the perspectives of the development of the situation of human rights, taking into consideration the strong dependence of this sphere on the external policy factor. Despite the voiced statements of the EU officials on the results of the contacts with the Belarusian side, there were no changes in the main principal issue – the release of political prisoners.
Though the situation of human rights remained stably bad in February, an important event concerning the situation of political prisoners took place – On 9 February Vasil Parfiankou, a figurant of the "case of 19 December 2010", pardoned in 2011 and convicted in 2012 for violation of the conditions of preventive supervision, was released from the arrest house due to the end of the six-month arrest term. However, this fact brought no changes for the overall situation of political prisoners, as it could by no means be considered as a manifestation of change in the attitude of the Belarusian authorities to political prisoners. 11 prisoners of conscience are still kept in Belarusian prisons.
Critical Situation for Political Prisoners in Belarus and Freedom for 40 Activists Considerably Restricted
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Belarusian member organization, Human Rights Center Viasna, are outraged at the large-scale and systematic acts of repression being inflicted upon both political prisoners and individuals whose freedom has been restricted for political reasons. It hereby releases a document detailing this repression and calls upon the regime to cease its oppressive behavior.
The first month of 2013 brought no changes in the human rights situation. 12 political prisoners were still kept in jail, the investigation of the cases concerning the disappearance of political opponents of Lukashenka in 1999 (Yu. Zakharanka, V. Hanchar and A. Krasouski) was again extended for three months, the persecution and pressure on the public and political activists, human rights defenders and independent media continued.
In December, the foreign policy still played a decisive role in the situation of human rights in Belarus. The general stagnation in the relations between the Belarusian authorities and the European democracies determined the stably bad situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms without significant deterioration during the reported period.
The situation of human rights in Belarus remained stably bad in October. 12 political prisoners continued being kept behind bars: Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Ales Bialiatski, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Eduard Lobau, Vasil Parfiankou, Artsiom Prakapenka, Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich and Yauhen Vaskovich. The decision to toughen the prison regime was taken towards Dzmitry Dashkevich, as a result of which he was transferred from colony to a cell-type prison for the rest of the term.
The situation of human rights in Belarus remained stably bad in September. At the same time, important changes in the situation of political prisoners took place – two political prisoners were released: Vitsebsk activist of the Conservative-Christian Party “Belarusian Popular Front” Siarhei Kavalenka and an activist of the anarchist movement Pavel Syramalotau (on 26 and 27 September respectively). Both political prisoners had written pardon petitions for Lukashenka back in June 2012. However, the decision about their release was taken only three months after.
In July and August, the human rights situation in Belarus deteriorated. Hopes for an easing of the political climate at the time of the parliamentary election campaign were not justified. None of the thirteen political prisoners were released. Moreover, new names were added to the list.