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Darya Losik and five more people recognized political prizoners

2022 2022-11-01T20:07:29+0300 2022-11-01T20:07:52+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/kajdanki-kraty.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Statement by the human rights community of Belarus

November 1, 2022

We, representatives of the Belarusian human rights community, reiterate that imprisonment and criminal liability for protest actions are used by the authorities to suppress public and political activism, dissent, and anti-war protests.

Criminal legislation has been substantially tightened and extended with new corpus delicti, which are used by the authorities solely for the purpose of political repression.

Out of court, the Interior Ministry and the KGB arbitrarily recognize as extremist groups of citizens brought together by public or political interests that criticize the actions of the authorities and demand reforms in the state and its policies. Several media resources were recognized as extremist formations as well. This in turn results in the arbitrary prosecution and imprisonment of their members and respondents as a disproportionate measure restricting the right to association and freedom of expression. For instance:

Ms. Yuliya Yurhilevich and Ms. Darya Losik were taken into custody on charges of ‘promoting extremist activities’ under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code.

Mr. Valiantsin Samasiuk was sentenced to imprisonment in a penal colony under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code, ‘promoting extremist activities,’ for sending several photos of railway equipment to a Telegram chat, recognized as an extremist formation.

It can be concluded in the context of the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022, and the following anti-war protest and solidarity actions with the people of Ukraine in Belarus that in these cases citizens are persecuted for their political views as well as for the non-violent exercise of freedom of expression, dissemination of information and association. Also in this context, the assessment of public danger caused by the participation of Belarusian citizens in Ukrainian military formations fighting on Ukrainian soil has changed:

Mr. Yauhen Karpau was convicted of ‘attempted participation in hostilities on foreign soil’ for joining the defenders of sovereign Ukraine under Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment in a penal colony.

Mr. Maksim Stasiuk was taken into custody on charges of ‘participation in group actions that grossly violate the public order’ and ‘attempting to participate or in hostilities on foreign soil’ (intention to join the defenders of Ukraine) under Part 1 of Article 342 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code respectively.

Mr. Aliaksandr Ainutdzinau was taken into custody on charges of ‘repeatedly driving without valid license’ (this offense that does not pose a great public danger) and ‘attempting to participate or in hostilities on foreign soil’ (intention to join the defenders of Ukraine) under Part 1 of Article 317-2 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code respectively.

Therefore, we recognize the named individuals as political prisoners in accordance with paragraph 3.1 (a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of ‘Political Prisoner,’ and demand that the Belarusian authorities:

  • Immediately release political prisoners Ms. Yuliya Yurhilevich, Ms. Darya Losik, Mr. Valiantsin Samasiuk, Mr. Yauhen Karpau, Mr. Maksim Stasiuk, and Mr. Aliaksandr Ainutdzinau.
  • Immediately release all political prisoners and end political repression in the country.

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