The political prisoner Volha Zalatar sentenced to 4 years in prison

2021 2021-12-03T13:01:24+0300 2021-12-03T13:04:01+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On December 3, the verdict against the political prisoner and mother of five children Volha Zalatar was announced in the Minsk City Court. She was found guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code: Part 1 of Art. 361-1 (creating an extremist formation), parts 1 and 2 of Art. 342 (organizing actions that grossly violate public order and training others to do that), part 1 of Art. 16 of Art. 342, part 1 (assisting in organizing actions that grossly violate public order). Volha Zalatar pleaded not guilty under all the articles. Judge Anastasiya Papko sentenced Volha to four years in prison in a general regime, which is one year less than the prosecutor Zhanna Baranava required.

Volha Zalatar with her children

Volha Zalatar was detained on March 18, 2021 when she was taking her 10-year-old daughter to a music school. The woman’s house was searched, after which she was sent to a detention center. The following day, her husband Siarhei Hankevich was imprisoned for 10 days for allegedly displaying a white-red-white flag in the window of their house, which was classified as an illegal picket.

The press service of the Minsk regional police reported that the woman was detained for her “active protest activities”. She was the administrator of a local chat and organized “unsanctioned mass events”: tea parties and concerts for neighbors.

Volha Zalatar pleaded not guilty and stated in court that she had been beaten after her detention. The Investigative Committee claimed that “Zolatar's statements about her injuries are not true, as she had them before her detention.”

On November 29, prosecutor Zhanna Baranava required a sentence of five years of imprisonment for Volha. On December 3, judge Anastasiya Papko announced the verdict— a four-year imprisonment, which is one year less than the prosecutor required.

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