What happened to political prisoners on August 8–14
There are already 1,276 political prisoners in Belarus – and counting. Every week the courts keep handing down new sentences and laying new charges against those already in custody. But there are also those who have served their term and are finally released. Viasna has collected all the news about political prisoners for the second week of August.
This week the list of political prisoners was updated with 17 new names.
Between August 8 and 14, at least five political prisoners were convicted in courts:
- On August 9, the Baranavičy Municipal and District Court passed a verdict on Natallia Taran. Judge Volha Serakova convicted the political prisoner of ‘insulting and slandering Mr. Aliaksandr Lukashenka’ and ‘insulting a government official’ under Part 1 of Art. 368, Part 2 of Article 367, and Article 369 and sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment in a penal colony.
- On August 2, 2022, the Lieninski District Court of Hrodna sentenced Aliaksandr Laurentsyeu was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months of imprisonment for ‘insulting the President of Belarus’ and ‘insulting a government official’ and under Articles 368 and 369 of the Criminal Code accordingly.
- On August 8, 2022, Vera Valnistaya was found guilty of ‘insulting a government official’ under Article 369 of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to two years of restricted freedom under home confinement and a fine of 1,000 Belarusian rubles (equivalent to 400 US dollars) in material compensation for moral damages. The political prisoner remains in pre-trial center, as she is still to stand trial under Article 342.
- On August 10, 2022, the Minsk Municipal Court sentenced Alena Nestsiarovich, a defendant in Zeltser case, to 2.5 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony for ‘insulting a government official’ and ‘inciting hatred’ under Articles 369 and 130 of the Criminal Code.
- On August 12, 2022, former Ministry of Emergency situations employee Aliaksandr Kurhanski was convicted of‘inciting hatred’ and ‘insulting a government official’ under Articles 130 and 369 of the Criminal Code for his comments after the deaths of IT worker Andrei Zeltser and KGB officer Dzmitry Fedasiuk. The political prisoner was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony and ordered a fine of 1,600 Belarusian rubles (equivalent to 635 US dollars).
Five political prisoners had their custody levels raised:
- Former Captain of the Armed Forces General Staff Dzianis Urad, blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski, and Mikita Zalatarou—from penal colonies to high-security prisons;
- Yauhen Kisleika—from freedom restriction in an open-type correctional facility to imprisonment in a penal colony.
Siarhei Velikarodny has served his full term and was released from the penal colony.