Overview of political trials on 19-25 September
There are currently 1,343 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 19-25 September.
Political prisoners count
Last week the political prisoners’ list was updated with 17 new names.
Between 19 and 25 September, human rights defenders learned about at least 13 political prisoners who were convicted in courts:
- On 28 June, political prisoner Yuliya Makas was sentenced to three years of home confinement for participating in a protest march. Judge Volha Yemialianchanka of the Saviecki District Court of Minsk found her guilty under part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code.
- On 15 August, the Minsk City Court sentenced 21-year-old history student Matsvei Hrankevich to two years of imprisonment. He was accused of participation in actions that grossly violate public order (part 1 of Art. 342) and incitement of social enmity (part 1 of Art. 130).
- At the end of August, the Supreme Court of Mahilioŭ Region passed a verdict in the criminal case against Siarhei Fisiuk, a 59-year-old resident of Babrujsk, who was accused of inciting social enmity or discord towards the law enforcement after the shootout in Andrei Zeltser’s apartment (part 1 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code). Fisiuk was sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
- On 1 September, the Leninski District Court of Hrodna pronounced a verdict in the case of 70-year-old Vasil Dziemidovich who was accused of insulting a public officer (Art. 369 of the Criminal Code), a judge (Art. 391 of the Criminal Code), and Lukashenko (part 1 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code, as well as organizing mass riots (part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code). For posting online comments he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment and compensation for moral harm to the offended of 32,000 Belarusian roubles ($12,600).
- On 5 September, the Minsk City Court pronounced the sentence on Navapolatsk resident Stanislau Puhachou. He used to work as an investigator in Minsk. The man was sentenced to seven years in prison. Judge Natallia Buhuk found him guilty under part 1 of Art. 179 (Illegal collection or distribution of personal data), part 3 of Art. 130 (Incitement of social enmity), and part 3 of Art. 203-1 (Illegal actions with personal data) of the Criminal Code.
- On 15 September, the Homieĺ Regional Court ruled in the case of Pavel Nazdra who was charged under Art. 361-4 of the Criminal Code (Assistance to an extremist formation). Pavel was detained for allegedly transmitting photos of Russian military equipment to the Belaruski Hayun Telegram channel and sentenced to two years of imprisonment.
- On 19 September, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk sentenced 50-year-old political prisoner Siarhei Babko to two years of imprisonment. He was charged under two articles of the Criminal Code: part 1 of Art. 368 (insulting Lukashenka) and Art. 369 (insulting a public officer).
- On 19 September, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court ruled in the case of Alena Lazarchyk, who was charged with four criminal articles. The activist of European Belarus was accused of participating in group actions grossly violating public order (Art. 342 of the Criminal Code), insulting Lukashenka (part 1 of Art. 368 of the Criminal Code), incitement of social enmity (part 3 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code) and establishment of or participation in an extremist formation (part 1 of Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code). Alena was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment.
- On 20 September, the Centralny District Court of Minsk sentenced three political prisoners: Anatol Latushka (a cousin of politician Pavel Latushka), Liliya Ananyan, and Alena Malinouskaya. They were persecuted for stenciling the Pahonia coat of arms on the mailboxes, distributing leaflets before the referendum, participating in a protest march, and burning the national flag. Judge Dzmitry Karsiuk sentenced Anatol to 6 years in prison, Alena – to 4 years in prison, and Liliya – to 5 years of home confinement. Latushka was also fined 9,600 Belarusian roubles ($3,800) and must compensate the victims.
- On 21 September, the Homieĺ Regional Court passed a sentence upon a resident of Mahilioŭ Yauhen Karpau, accused under part 1 of Art. 14 and part 1 of Art. 361-3 (attempted participation in an armed formation or armed conflict in the territory of a foreign country or military actions). He will have to spend two and a half years in prison. Allegedly, Yauhen wanted to join the Belarusian regiment named after Kastus Kalinouski and was detained in June when trying to cross the border.
- On 22 September, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk sentenced Pavel Laryn, a 48-year-old large-family father, to a year and six months of imprisonment for insulting a public officer and Lukashenka in his comments on Telegram (Art.s 369 and 368 of the Criminal Code).
Political prisoner and journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich was released on September 21 after signing a letter of mercy to Lukashenka. The same day, he left Belarus. It is known that human rights defender Tatsiana Lasitsa and prisoners Halina Mikhalchuk and Aliaksandr Kutas were also released this week. Most probably, they were pardoned by the president.