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What happened to political prisoners on September 26–October 2

2022 2022-10-03T15:54:56+0300 2022-10-03T15:58:27+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/cesler-02.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Art by Vladimir Tsesler

Art by Vladimir Tsesler

There are currently 1,324 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 from the last week of September.

Latest convictions

Between September 26 and October 2, human rights defenders learned about at least 12 political prisoners who were convicted in courts:

  • On September 26, 2022, the Maladziečna City and District court passed the second verdict on Aliaksandr Kazakevich, a musician from Maladziečna. Judge Dzianis Bareika found him guilty of ‘insulting a government official’ (Article 369 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to two years of freedom restriction under home confinement. Previously, Kazakevich was already sentenced to 18 months of freedom restriction under home confinement. On July 26, 2022, he was detained again and placed in pre-trial detention center.
  • On August 31, 2022, sentenced Artsiom Lamanosau, a lawyer, to three years of freedom restriction under home confinement. He was convicted of ‘active participation in actions that grossly violate the public order’ under Article 342 of the Criminal Code.
  • On September 26, 2022, the Brest Regional Court convicted Aliaksandr Veliasnitski, a former military officer. He was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment in a general security penal colony for condemning security forces' violence after the 2020 elections in his comments on the Internet in connection with the deaths of IT worker Andrei Zeltser and KGB agent Dzmitry Fedasiuk. The court deemed it as ‘insulting a government official’ (Article 369 of the Criminal Code) and ’incitement to hatred’ (Article 130 of the Criminal Code).
  • On September 13, 2022, the Zavodzki District Court of Minsk started hearing the case of four political prisoners: Mikhail Khamitsevich, Mikalai Karobka, Viachaslau Dashkevich, and Tatsiana Zayats. The case was brought for distributing and mailing leaflets with an appeal to count votes honestly. On September 23, they were convicted of ‘obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights, the right to participate in a referendum’ under Part 2 of Article 191 of the Criminal Codeand received the following jail terms:

Mikhail Khamitsevich—24 months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony;
Mikalai Karobka
—2.5 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony;
Viachaslau Dashkevich
—24 months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony; and
Tatsiana Zayats
—24 months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony.

  • On September 28, 2022, Judge Anastasiya Papko of Minsk Municipal Court convicted a former military officer Aliaksei Ivanisau and Aliaksei Hameza. Ivanisau was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment and Hameza was sentenced to 14.5 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony. The both were ordered a fine of 16,000 Belarusian rubles ($6,300) each. The verdict was handed down under under four articles of the Criminal Code:

Article 361—calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus;
Article 130—incitement to hatred;
Article 290-4—establishing or participating in an organization for the purpose of terrorist activity; and
Article 359—terrorist act against a state official or public figure.

  • On September 30, 2022, Judge Viktoryia Shabunia of Centraĺny District Court of Minsk convicted Yauhen Batura, an engineer. She sentenced him to 24 months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (‘group actions that grossly violate the public order’).
  • On September 30, 2022, Judge Volha Niaborskaya of the Kastryčnicki District Court of Minsk sentenced a medic Tatsiana Talochka to three years of freedom restriction under home confinement. Talochka was charged with ‘organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them’ under Article 342 of the Criminal Code after she had tried to save Tsimur Mitskevich, a teenager who fell into a coma after being beaten by law enforcers, from prosecution in August 2022 by signing papers that he could not be interrogated.
  • On September 30, 2022, the Brest Regional Court found Dzianis Salmanovich guilty under five articles of the Criminal Code:

Article 342 of the Criminal Code—organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Article 361 of the Criminal Code—calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus
Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code—creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
Article 130 of the Criminal Code—incitement to hatred
Article 290 of the Criminal Code—threat to commit an act of terrorism

   He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony, and ordered a fine of 6,400 Belarusian rubles ($2,500).

Released

Political prisoners Pavel Berasniou, Mikalai Slioz, Kanstantsin Dudzikau, Aleh Kulesha, Andrei Charneuski, and Vital Marukhlenka have served their full terms and were released.

 

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