At least 76 citizens convicted on political grounds in criminal cases in July
In July the Human Rights Center Viasna observed a continuing trend toward criminal prosecution of citizens for political reasons. Viasna human rights defenders are aware of at least 76 citizens convicted on political grounds in June. Of those, about four-fifths (79%) are men and one-fifth (21%) are women.
In June the Human Rights Center Viasna observed a continuing trend toward criminal prosecution of citizens for political reasons. Viasna human rights defenders are aware of at least 86 citizens convicted on political grounds in June. Of those, about 60.46% are men and 39.54% are women.
Of all July sentences known to human rights defenders, almost half (47%) were under the defamation articles, which the human rights community has long insisted on excluding from the Criminal Code. One-third of those (32%) were passed under the articles on ‘the preparation of group actions grossly violating public order or active participation in them and mass riots’. The criminal prosecution on defamation cases of two citizens was terminated due to the expiration of the prosecution period.
Human rights defenders recorded that in July judges continued to impose penalties related to imprisonment and restriction of freedom on most of those involved in ‘protest’ criminal cases. July sentences in numbers:
- 50 people sentenced to a total of 162 years and 3 months of imprisonment;
- 5 people sentenced to a total of 15 years of freedom restriction in open-type correctional facilities;
- 21 people sentenced to a total of 50.5 years of freedom restriction under home confinement;
- 10 people received fines totaling 29,440 Belarusian rubles (equivalent to 11,640 US dollars) as an additional punishment to freedom restriction or imprisonment.
In July, the courts handed down custodial sentences in two-thirds (65,79%) of all cases. Another 6,58% of the sentences involved restriction of freedom in open-type facilities. Home confinement was ordered in 27,63% of all cases.
Thus, various types of custodial and freedom-restricting sentences were handed down in 100% of the politically motivated cases in July.