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Overview of political trials on 12-18 September

2022 2022-09-19T19:02:34+0300 2022-09-20T13:09:08+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/sudy-minsk-2020.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

There are currently 1,335 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 some people have served their terms and are finally released. Below, you will find an overview of the news on political prisoners for 12-18 September.

Political prisoners count

Last week the political prisoners’ list was updated with 10 new names.

Latest convictions

Between 12 and 18 September, human rights defenders learned about at least 27 political prisoners who were convicted in courts:

  • On 18 August, Sviatlana Kindel was sentenced in the Leninski District Court of Minsk to three years of home confinement for participating in a protest march in Minsk in 2020 (Art. 341 of the Criminal Code).
  • On 23 August, a family was convicted in the Leninski District Court of Minsk. Spouses Ala and Vasil Ramanenkas and the woman’s niece Aliaksandra Antonenka were found guilty under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to three (Ala and Vasil) and two (Aliaksandra) years of home confinement. The three of them were previously convicted under the same article. They were found guilty of participating in several protest marches.
  • On 26 August, the Leninski District Court of Minsk convicted another family for participation in the 2020 protests. Judge Yulia Inchyna convicted Alena and Andrei Barmutaus and Andrei’s sister Volha Rakhuba to three years of home confinement under part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code.
  • On 26 August, the Čašniki District Court found Stsiapan Khadatovich guilty of befoulment of buildings and property (Art. 341 of the Criminal Code). He was accused of “making extremist inscriptions on the pipeline of Lukoml power station” and “drawing pictures of white-red-white and blue-yellow flags on the surface of an artillery gun on the territory of a military burial”. The court sentenced Stsiapan to two and a half years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility.
  • On 6 September, the judicial board of the Viciebsk Regional Court finished the consideration of the criminal case of Anatol Mikhailau. The 28-year-old local was accused of creating an extremist formation (part 3 of Art. 361-3 of the Criminal Code), inciting social hatred or discord (part 1 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code), insulting the president (part 1 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code), and insulting government officials (Art. 369 of the Criminal Code). The reason for the detention was the registration in the subversive Victory plan drawn by the opposition. Anatol was sentenced to four-year imprisonment and a fine of 3,200 Belarusian rubles ($1,300).
  • On 7 September, the Kastryčnicki District Court found TikTok vlogger Aliaksei Bondar guilty of participating in actions that grossly violate public order (Art. 342 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to three years of home confinement.
  • On 12 September, the Court of Baranavičy and Baranavičy District sentenced Uladzislau Rabich to three years of home confinement. The person is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. He was found guilty of ‘insulting and falsely accusing the president of committing a grave crime’ in a comment under a video (part 2 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code).
  • On 12 September, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk pronounced the sentence on political prisoners Aliaksei Khilkevich and Raman Labanau. Judge Katsiaryna Murashka found them guilty of mailing letters to election commissions with an appeal to count votes honestly (part 2 of Art. 191 of the Criminal Code). The defendants were sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
  • On 14 September, the Pieršamajski District Court of Viciebsk convicted Yauhen Hukau for insulting the president (part 1 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code) and the former Interior Minister Yury Karayeu (Art. 369 of the Criminal Code). The court ruled to find Yauhen Hukau guilty and sentenced him to one year and ten months of imprisonment.
  • On 14 September, the Hrodna Regional Court pronounced the sentence on Novy Chas journalist Dzianis Ivashyn. The political prisoner was sentenced to 13 years and 1 month of imprisonment, a fine of 4,800 Belarusian rubles ($1,900), and a moral compensation of 2,000 rubles ($800) to each of the nine victims in the case. Ivashyn was convicted of ‘interference in the activities of a police officer’ (Art. 365 of the Criminal Code) and ‘high treason’ (part 1 of Art. 356 of the Criminal Code).
  • Journalist Dzianis Ivashyn sentenced to 13 years in jail for high treason

    On September 14, 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court pronounced the sentence on Novy Chas journalist Dzianis Ivashyn. The political prisoner was sentenced to 13 years and 1 month in a medium-security penal colony.

  • On 15 September, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk passed a sentence on five prisoners: Illia Davydzenka was sentenced to three years in prison, Maryna Markevich – to two and a half years in prison, and Hanna Kisialiova, Viktar Khimaroda, and Maksim Matsulevich – to a year and a half of imprisonment. They were all found guilty under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code for burning an effigy of Lukashenka. Davydzenka and Markevich were also convicted of participation in a protest march (Art. 342 of the Criminal Code).
  • On 15 September, the Saviecki District Court of Minsk passed a criminal sentence in the case of former BNF Youth Wing activist, and political prisoner Arseni Dziadok. He was accused of participating in actions that grossly violate public order (part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code). The judge decided to punish the young man with three years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility.
  • On 16 September, the Viciebsk Regional Court pronounced a verdict in the criminal case of Siarhei Kanavalau accused of inciting social hatred or discord, preparation for an act of terrorism, and intentional disruption of transport communication. The defendant used to work for the Belarusian Railway company and had allegedly planned to disable systems ensuring the safety of railway traffic. Kanavalau was sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment and a fine of 9,600 Belarusian roubles ($3,800).

Another batch of verdicts was delivered in the ‘Zeltser case’ mostly upon people who commented on the internet on the fatal shooting between KGB officer Dzmitry Fedasiuk and IT specialist Andrei Zeltser during a raid in his flat:

  • On 4 August, political prisoner Ihar Artsiukh was sentenced in the Minsk City Court to three years of imprisonment in the ‘Zeltser case’. The 37-year-old man was found guilty under Article 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement of social enmity or discord).
  • On 25 August, the Drybin District Court sentenced Pavel Belaholau accused of insulting a government official (Art. 369 of the Criminal Code) and discrediting the Republic of Belarus (Article 369-1) to two years and six months of imprisonment and a fine of 3,200 Belarusian roubles ($1,300).
  • On 7 September, the Mazyr District Court passed a sentence on political prisoner Yaraslau Pashkou. He was found guilty of ‘discrediting the Republic of Belarus’ (Art. 369-1 of the Criminal Code) and ‘insulting the president’ (part 1 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to one year and nine months of imprisonment and a fine of 3,200 Belarusian rubles ($1,300).
  • On 12 September, the Hrodna Regional Court pronounced the verdict on 52-year-old political prisoner Ryhor Hryh four years of imprisonment. He was detained in the ‘Zeltser case’ and charged with insulting Lukashenka (part 1 of Art. 369 of the Criminal Code), calling for sanctions (part 3 of Art. 361 of the Criminal Code), and ‘inciting social enmity’ (Art. 130 of the Criminal Code).
  • On 12 September, the Ivanava District Court sentenced political prisoner Ivan Kuziur to two years of imprisonment and a fine of 3,200 Belarusian roubles ($1,300). He was found guilty of commenting on the death of Andrei Zeltser online (Art 369 of the Criminal Code).

Released

Political prisoner Viktar Parkhimchyk was released upon completing his sentence.

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