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23 more prisoners declared political in Belarus

2022 2022-11-21T14:28:02+0300 2022-11-22T16:34:48+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/zatrymanne_14_viasna9.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Joint statement of the Belarusian human rights community

19 November 2022

Due to the increased number of convictions and imprisonment of Belarusian citizens under several defamatory articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, as well as in connection with the desecration of state symbols of the Republic of Belarus and other actions aimed at the lawful realization of freedom of expression, the Belarusian human rights community demands that the persecution of lawful forms of expression be stopped and, reiterating our repeatedly expressed demands for the decriminalization of defamation and inadmissibility of imprisoning citizens for insulting officials, the state, state bodies and symbols (joint statement of 22 December 2020), we declare that:

We have received information about the following persons imprisoned for insulting Lukashenka, public officers (policemen), and judges, for desecrating state symbols, and for other forms of realization of the freedom of opinion:

  1. Daniil Ramanau, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  2. Maryna Sachyuka, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving her sentence;
  3. Artur Step, convicted of insulting a public official and Aliaksandr Lukashenko under Art. 368 and 369 of the Criminal Code to two years and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  4. Andrei Zhameika, convicted of insulting a public official and Aliaksandr Lukashenko under Art. 368 and 369 of the Criminal Code to three years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  5. Valer Adaleuski, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  6. Viktar Kulesh, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  7. Mikalai Lasitski, convicted of libeling a public official under Art. 188 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  8. Maksim Pikun, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  9. Mikhail Bashkatau, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  10. Ivan Kiryk, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  11. Aleh Pasiuk, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  12. Vital Astreika, taken into custody for libeling and insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka under Art. 367 and 368 of the Criminal Code;
  13. Kiryl Zhaludok, taken into custody for insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code;
  14. Artur Charniauski, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to two years of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  15. Andrei Dubrouski, convicted of insulting a public official under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of restricted freedom in an open-type correctional facility, serving his sentence;
  16. Dzianis Valchok, convicted for insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenko and communication of personal data under part 1 Art. 368 and part 2 Art. 203-1 of the Criminal Code to one year and six months of imprisonment;
  17. Natallia Liatsko, convicted for libel and communication of personal data under Art. 188 and part 3 Art. 203-1 of the Criminal Code to one year of imprisonment;
  18. Vital Ulasevich, convicted for protest graffiti and encouraging sanctions under Art. 341 and part 3 Art. 361 to two years and six months of imprisonment;
  19. Andrei Khanevich, convicted for his interview with Belsat TV channel in which he “discredited” the Republic of Belarus and promoted “extremist activities” under Art. 369-1 and 361-4 of the Criminal Code to five years of imprisonment;
  20. Volha Ramantsova, taken into custody for insulting a judge under Art. 391 of the Criminal Code;
  21. Katsiaryna Khulkhachieva, taken into custody in the “Zeltser case”;
  22. Dzianis Yarouski, taken into custody for “actions that grossly violate public order" under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code;
  23. Mikhail Niamtsou, convicted for commenting on the Russian troops’ actions in Kazakhstan and for insulting Lukashenko to three years of imprisonment.

We consider the prosecution and imprisonment of these individuals to be politically motivated, related to the peaceful exercise of expression, recognize them as political prisoners as per paragraph 3.1(a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners, and demand that the Belarusian authorities

  1. Immediately release political prisoners Daniil Ramanau, Maryna Sachyuka, Artur Step, Andrei Zhameika, Valer Adaleuski, Viktar Kulesh, Mikalai Lasitski, Maksim Pikun, Mikhail Bashkatau, Ivan Kiryk, Aleh Pasiuk, Vital Astreika, Kiryl Zhaludok, Artur Charniauski, Andrei Dubrouski, Dzianis Valchok, Natallia Liatsko, Vital Ulasevich, Andrei Khanevich, Volha Ramantsova, Katsiaryna Khulkhachieva, Dzianis Yarouski, and Mikhail Niamtsou and to stop their criminal prosecution;
  2. Take actions to decriminalize defamatory offenses and abolish the articles of the Criminal Code which provide for liability for insulting the state, state symbols, and officials, namely Art. 188, 189, 367, 368, 369, 369-1, 370, 391 of the Criminal Code, and to terminate all previously opened criminal cases under these articles;
  3. Immediately release all political prisoners and stop political repressions against citizens of the country.

Human Rights Center “Viasna”;
Legal Initiative;
Belarusian Helsinki Committee;
Belarusian PEN;
Lawtrend.

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