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Shot in knees and jailed: what Belarusians risks for their anti-war stance Updated

2023 2023-10-19T15:24:00+0300 2023-10-19T16:49:19+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/vjasna_vaina_va_ukraine_pratest_facebook-2.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Belarusians have been protesting the war. People hold rallies and pickets, disrupt railway transportation to slow down the movement of Russian military equipment, disseminate information about military actions, and join Ukrainian forces to fight the aggressor.

As of October 18, 2023, there are 13 convicts in Belarus for sabotage on the railroad sentenced to a total of 199.5 years of imprisonment. At least 35 people were convicted for transferring photos and videos of Russian military equipment to the media, and 13 people were convicted for intending to fight on the side of Ukraine. At least 26 people were persecuted for publicly condemning Russian aggression, donating to Belarusian volunteers, and supporting Ukraine. In the first 50 days of the war, more than 1,500 people have been detained for anti-war actions in Belarus. In our country, they are still being persecuted for openly supporting Ukraine and subjected to administrative arrest. 

In total, at least 1,630 Belarusians were detained for their anti-war position. Of these, 79 persons were convicted in criminal cases for a term of 1 to 23 years.

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“War in Ukraine”. Art by Volha Prankevich.

Arrests and torture for participation in anti-war actions

In Belarus, people are still being persecuted for openly supporting Ukraine and subjected to administrative arrest: for public slogans "Glory to Ukraine", for the Ukrainian flag on social media, and even for singing the anthem of Ukraine in karaoke.

Thus, in early April 2023, a man was convicted in Brest under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code. He was accused of singing the anthem of Ukraine in a local karaoke bar, "publicly expressing his social and political interests." He did not admit his guilt and explained that he did it in spite of the demands of one man not to sing Ukrainian songs.

It is known that the discontented man is a citizen of the Russian Federation. According to his testimony, the Brest resident asked him to leave Belarus and sang the anthem of Ukraine without a microphone, despite numerous requests not to do so. He was found guilty of "picketing" and was sentenced to 7 days of arrest.


 

In the Court of Navapolatsk on August 17, 2023, a local resident was convicted, who had been detained earlier that day. He was accused of unauthorized picketing. The reason for the detention was a photo published on Instagram of the Navapolatsk resident from his vacation in Georgia, where he stands against the background of mountains and flags of Georgia and Ukraine. At the same time, the photo was published on August 8, 2021, but the police noticed it only two years later. 

As a result, the man was sentenced to 15 days of arrest.

The largest anti-war protests took place all over the country on February 27 and 28, the first weekend after the war outbreak. Over 1,100 people were arrested in Belarus in these two days.

Even the slightest antiwar sentiment such as wearing clothes and symbols in blue and yellow, laying flowers at the Ukrainian embassy, or wearing a No war T-shirt could become grounds for detention. Protests were held not only in the capital but also in small towns.

People arrested at the rallies were tortured by the security forces. Some protesters were beaten at police stations so badly that were taken to hospitals.

“When I was in the hospital, my friends sent me a link to a TikTok video of me that was viewed about 60,000 times. It warmed my heart, and I hoped that if some of the Ukrainians watched this video, they would at least understand that real Belarusians would never in their lives fire rockets towards them,” said Pavel, who was arrested at an anti-war rally and taken to the hospital from the police where he was beaten.

Another anti-war protester shared his story with human rights defenders.

He recalled that people started shouting “Putin is a d*ckhead!” at some point. That was the reason for the brutal arrests, he believes. Three or four law enforcement officers immediately rushed up to the man, threw him on the ground, and started beating him with their batons. He got 14 blows, five of which were to the head. After that, a riot police officer ran up and held the boy while he waited for his colleagues. As a result, several security forces dragged the boy by the legs and hands into the car.

A woman arrested at an anti-war rally spoke about her conflict with the notoriously violent officer Yauhen Urubleuski at the Akrescina detention center.

Inmates asked him for toilet paper and to open the food hatch, so there would be more air, but he rudely declined their request. but he rudely declined their request.

“The conflict began. […] Urubleuski took one of the women out into the corridor and banged her head against the wall.”

In late December 2022, it became known criminal proceedings were started against a 68-year-old woman from Brest. The woman wrote Long live Belarus and No War on a bus stop in Brest. She was accused of desecration of buildings and property damage.

Administrative prosecution in 2022: At least 6,380 arrests

For almost two and a half years repression has been going on in Belarus. The human rights situation in the country is deteriorating every day. Last year, it got to the point where firearms were used to arrest “rail guerrillas” and some detainees’ pets were shot. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the authorities have been actively prosecuting Belarusians for anti-war protests. A total of at least 6,381 people were arrested in 2022, according to human rights activists. This makes a minimum of 17 people a day. Read our yearly review of administrative persecution.

“Rail guerillas”: shot in the knees and record jail sentences

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12 "rail guerrillas" sentenced to a total of 191.5 years of imprisonment

Russia, with Lukashenka's consent, is actively using the territory of Belarus in a war against Ukraine. Belarusian railways are used to transport military equipment. The Belarusians react by disabling railroad equipment to prevent military transportation.

Railroad disruptions have caused the authorities to make special amendments to criminal law. Now capital punishment can be imposed not only for an act of terrorism but even for an attempt to commit an act of terrorism.

As of today, it is known about 13 "rail guerrillas" sentenced to a total of 199.5 years of imprisonment.

Minsk

On December 22, Vital Melnik was sentenced to 13 years in prison for five criminal offenses including “an act of terrorism”.  The man was accused of setting fire to the relay cabinet of an automatic blocking traffic light at the Navasady-Barysaŭ railway line in March 2022, thereby disabling the railway signaling system. His actions created a real threat of a serious accident, damage to railway rolling stock, and death or injury to people, the prosecution claimed.

Vital Melnik lives in the village of Chadakova, Minsk region. He has a small child.

Svietlahorsk

On December 27, the Homieĺ Regional Court sentenced three men from Svietlahorsk in the case of “rail guerrillas” accused of terrorism and treason against the state. Dzianis Dzikun was sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony, Dzmitry Ravich received 22 years, and Aleh Malchanau was punished with 21 years in jail.

So far, this is the harshest sentence for railroad sabotage in Belarus.

The men were accused of setting fire to the relay cabinet and informing about it Peramoha plan project and BYPOL.


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Maksim Drabnitsa

The Homel Regional Court on June 10, 2023, sentenced a 22-year-old Maksim Drabnitsa for joining the Victory plan and intending to blow up the railway in the Svetlahorsk district. The guy arrived at the railway, where he was ambushed and detained.

Maksim was sentenced to eight years in a medium security penal colony and fined 3,700 rubles.

Stoŭbcy

Siarhei Hlebka was detained on the night of March 1–2 in Stoŭbcy for setting logs on fire in order to prevent the movement of trains on the railroad tracks, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said. A criminal case under Article 289 of the Criminal Code (An act of terrorism) was brought against him.

A “confession video” posted shortly after Hlebka’s arrest shows signs of beatings.

On October 19, 2022, the Minsk Municipal Court sentenced the political prisoner to 11 years in a medium-security penal colony and a fine of 9,600 Belarusian rubles ($3,800). 

Viciebsk

On 16 September 2022, the Viciebsk Regional Court pronounced a verdict and sentencedSiarhei Kanavalau to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of 9,600 Belarusian roubles ($3,800). He was found guilty of several counts, including terrorism (Article 289 of the Criminal Code).

Kanavalau is an employee of the Viciebsk branch of Belarusian Railways. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the man planned to disable the systems that ensure the safety of railway traffic.

Asipovičy

Aliaksei Shyshkavets, 43, was detained on March 2 in Asipovičy. The man, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, “joined the extremist formation BYPOL, having authorized a mobilization chatbot to commit unlawful acts in Belarus”.

On October 12, 2022, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court convicted him of ‘terrorism’ and ‘participation in hostilities on foreign soil’ under Article 289 Part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code. Judge Siarhei Mazurau sentenced the political prisoner to 11 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.

Babrujsk

Yauhen Minkevich, Dzmitryi Klimau, and Uladzimir Auramtsau from Babrujsk were arrested by a special unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on March 30. They were suspected of destroying two relay cabinets near Asipovičy. During the arrest, the officers used weapons against Dzmitryi Klimau and shot him in the knees. It was revealed later, that it was made on purpose despite the men did not resist the arrest.

On February 10, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court passed a verdict to: Dzmitryi Klimau, Uladzimir Auramtsau, and Yauhen Minkevich. The first two were sentenced to 22 years in a penal colony each, and the latter was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment. It is noted that Minkevich was partially released from punishment for a period of one year under the law On Amnesty in Connection with the National Unity Day. Taking into account the time spent in custody, the sentence is considered to have been served.

Rail War: what we know about “Rail guerillas”

Since the onset of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, including from Belarusian territory, the “Rail War” has unfolded in Belarus. Belarusians are disrupting the railway network. Despite the state considering such actions as acts of terrorism, sabotage on the railroad does not stop: over a month more than a dozen of such acts have been recorded. At least 11 people have been detained, human rights activists report. Law enforcers are on the lookout for “rail guerillas” and conduct raids in towns where acts of sabotage have taken place. Viasna tells what is known about the “purge” of railroad employees all over Belarus.

Mazyr

On March 10, 2022, it became known about the detention of political prisoners Siarhei Pleshkun and Yuryi Selvich.

The Mazyr residents were charged with seven criminal articles, including an act of terrorism, extremist activity, and inciting social hatred. In particular, Pleshkun was accused of making Molotov cocktails and preparing to damage vehicles.

The Homel Regional Court on February 8 sentenced Siarhei Pleshkun to 16 years in a medium security colony and Yuryi Selvich to 14 years.

Information warfare

According to human rights activists, the Belarusian authorities have opened at least 36 criminal cases for transferring information about the movement of Russian military equipment. At least 35 people have been convicted.

Another type of anti-war resistance is the so-called information war. All over the country, people are taking pictures of Russian military convoys and sending information to the military activity monitoring project Bielaruski hajun or to independent media. Virtually all non-state media are recognized as “extremist formations” and this enables authorities to consider any interaction with them as “promoting extremist activities” (Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code), “participating in an extremist formation” (Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code) or even “high treason” (Article 356 of the Criminal Code). All those who report the movement of the Russian military face from two to six years in jail under Article 361-4  and seven to fifteen years for treason.

Thus, on December 15, a Brest-based state media published broadcasted the arrest of former military officer Dzmitryi Hulin, who is accused of high treason.

In the video, he was called by the officers “an agent of the Ukrainian special services”. The former serviceman allegedly passed Ukrainian military information about the deployment of Russian units on the territory of Belarus.


On December 6, former teacher Iryna Abdukeryna was sentenced to four years in jail under four articles, including Article 361-1, “participating in extremist formation”.

Political prisoner Iryna Abdukeryna is a former English teacher from Chojniki, a town in the Homieĺ region just about 60 km from the border with Ukraine. She was detained on the morning of April 5, 2022, at her summer house. The reason for the arrest was that the woman had allegedly recorded the movement of a Russian military convoy and forwarded the video to the Bielaruski hajun Telegram channel.


Yahor Lebiadok, a military analyst, was convicted under Art. 361-4 (“promoting extremist activities”) on December 23. He received five years of imprisonment for an interview with Euroradio about the war in Ukraine.

Lebiadok was arrested 13, 2022.According to the case file, the reason was that he “gave an interview to a representative of the named channel on the subject of a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces and the role of Belarus in it”.


A software engineer from Senica Dzmitryi Mastavoi was detained in early March 2023 after the attack at the airfield in Mačulišči. In a pro-government video on state TV, it was reported that he was streaming from the airfield for the monitoring project Bielaruski hajun. He was found and detained while trying to take money from a hiding place.

On September 14, 2023, the Brest Regional Court began considering a criminal case against the software engineer under Part 1 of Article 356 (treason to the state) and Part 1 of Article 361-4 (promotion of extremist activity) of the Criminal Code. 

Dzmitryi was sentenced to ten years in a penal colony.


The head of a city pharmacy Dzmitryi Makeyeu was sentenced on September 4, 2023, under three criminal articles to six years in a penal colony and fined 18,500 rubles for transferring videos of Russian military equipment to a Telegram channel recognized as an "extremist formation", as well as for donates to the Kalinouski regiment.

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“War in Ukraine”. Art by Volha Prankevich.

Persecution for wanting to fight for Ukraine

With the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many Belarusians joined the Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment. But the desire to fight on the side of Ukraine and any attempts to join the regiment could result in detention and accusations of “attempted participation in an armed conflict on foreign soil” (Article 14 and 361-3 of the Criminal Code) or “mercenarism” (Article 133 of the Criminal Code).

As of today, there are at least 13 convicted political prisoners in Belarus for wanting to fight on the side of Ukraine: Siarhei HrybovichAndrei Raptunovich, Anatol Mikhailau, Andrei Maslau, Mikhail Listapadau, Yauhen Karpau, Siarhei VaitsiukAliaksandr AinutdzinauKiryl Balakhonau, Pavel Abozny, Yan Papkovich,Maksim Stasiuk, Vasil Yakimau.

Here come the stories of some of them.

Siarhei Vaitsiuk, 37, was one of the first to be convicted for wanting to fight on the side of Ukraine after the start of a full-scale war.

According to the indictment, Vaitsiuk “found out through various Internet resources the procedure and possible ways of enlisting in the armed units of Ukraine, and contacted their representatives in April 2022”.

On April 24, the man was taken into custody on suspicion of “mercenarism” under Article 133 of the Criminal Code. The charge was later reclassified to a slightly milder one, namely ‘attempted participation in hostilities on the territory of a foreign state’ under Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code.

On July 28, in the Brest Regional Court, Vaitsiuk was sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony under Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code.

At the end of December, the state TV broadcasted a film about detained Belarusians who wanted to fight on the side of Ukraine.


Andrei Raptunovich, 20, was convicted in Minsk for wanting to join the Kalinoŭski Regiment.

Raptunovich is an artist and a further education teacher. He was detained on May 16, 2022. In a “repentant video” of him that appeared on pro-government Telegram channels he “confessed” in participating in protest actions and registering in the Peramoha chat and the regiment chatbot.

On November 14, the Minsk Municipal Court, sentenced Raptunovich to four years in jail under part 1 of Article 13 and Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code for intention to fight on the side of Ukraine and under part 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code for registration in the Peramoha chatbot.


Aliaksandr Ainutdzinau, 46, was detained in July. Among other things, he was accused of intending to fight on the side of Ukraine.

In the “repentant video”, the man says that on February 24, when Russia had started a war in Ukraine, he had started reading various Telegram channels and decided to join Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment to defend Ukraine. To do this, Ainutdzinau attempted to cross the border illegally, but was detained by Belarusian border guards.

On November 16, the Homieĺ Regional Court, sentenced Ainutdzinau 25 months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony under Part 1 of Article 361-3 and Part 1 of Article 317-2 of the Criminal Code.


The former collector of Belgazprombank Yan Papkovich was detained on September 2, 2022, together with his wife before their departure to Poland. He was shown in several BT TV-channel reports, where he was represented as a mercenary who was going to go to war in Ukraine.

On May 16, 2023, in the Minsk City Court, Yan Papkovich was sentenced under Articles 361-3 and 342 of the Criminal Code to four years in a general security colony.

Kalinoŭski Regiment: recognition as an "extremist formation", trashed apartments, and criminal prosecution.

The authorities are also actively persecuting those who have already joined the Kalinoŭski Regiment. On September 23, the Ministry of Internal Affairs recognized it as an “extremist group”.  On October 11, the Investigative Committee initiated criminal proceedings against the founders and participants of the regiment.

In 2022, a new method of harassing and intimidating self-exiled dissidents was invented—by trashing their apartments. The law enforcers make before-and-after videos of vandalism, which they then post on Telegram channels. In the “after” part, one can see scattered things, broken furniture, and gutted wardrobes.

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The interior of Natallia Suslava's apartment after the visit of law enforcers.

Thus, at the end of November, law enforcers trashed the apartments of the Kalinoŭski Regiment spokeswoman and her husband. They also vandalized the apartment of Natallia Suslava, mother of the deceased Kalinoŭski Regiment member.

The sister of a volunteer of the Kalinoŭski regiment Yan Melnikau Viktoryia Navitskaya was detained at the end of May 2022. After two administrative arrests lasting 26 days, the woman was not released, but was re-detained in a criminal case under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order). On October 13, 2022, in the Leninski District Court of Minsk, the political prisoner was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment in a general security colony.

Arrests for solidarity with Ukraine

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Student Danuta Peradnia, who in 2022 was sentenced to 6.5 years in a penal colony for an anti-war repost

In late December 2022 it became known that criminal proceedings were started against a 68-year-old Liudmila Kohan from Brest for desecration of buildings and damage to property with an anti-war inscription. The woman wrote Long live Belarus and No War on a bus stop in Brest. She was accused of desecration of buildings and property damage.

On February 22, 2023 , the Moscow Court of Brest sentenced Liudmila to one year of home confinement for desecration of buildings and damage to property (Article 341 of the Criminal Code). Before the verdict, the woman was kept under house arrest.


It as become known about the detention of five Belarusians who spoke out against the war and in support of Ukraine on Chatroulette. In total, 11 people were detained for anti-war Internet comments.


Singer Meryem Herasimenka was detained on August 4, 2022 after a concert in a Minsk bar Banki Butelki, where she performed the song Obiymy by the band Okean Elzy in support of Ukraine. The fact that the songs were performed in Ukrainian angered the propagandists. On January 20, 2023, in the Court of the Central District of Minsk, Meryem was sentenced to three years of home confinement for active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code).


For refusing to serve Russian military officers in a store on February 20, the Court of the Baranavičy District and the City of Baranavičy fined the head of an auto parts store Viktar Makarenka 11,100 rubles (about $3400). The man was charged under Article 190 of the Criminal Code (violation of equality of citizens).


On January 5, 2023, the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption detained Minsk priest Dzianisii Karastaleu for a prayer for Ukrainian soldiers and defenders.


The flag case

In mid-September, law enforcement officers arrested five Minsk residents for hanging up large national flags of Belarus and Ukraine on a residential building. A criminal case was brought against them for “malicious hooliganism committed by a group of persons” under part 2 Article 339 of the Criminal Code, and they were all taken into custody in Žodzina prison. Two weeks after their arrest the Ministry of Internal Affairs recognized the channel in the Zello application, through which the participants communicated while organizing the action, as extremist formation.  

The detainees are Dzianis Varozau, Viachaslau Pantsiushenka, Volha Tserakh, Uladzimir Lavor, and Katsiaryna Zaretskaya.

There is no "malicious hooliganism" among the incriminated articles, on the basis of which political prisoners were detained and placed in custody. Now five people are charged under more serious articles of the Criminal Code: Parts 1, 3 of Article 361-1 (creation and participation in an "extremist formation") and Part 2 of Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promotion of extremist activity). They face up to 7 years of imprisonment.

In the Minsk City Court on April 6, 2023, all participants in the case were sentenced to five years in a penal colony, and Uladzimir Lavor was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.


"Minsk residents congratulate the Ukrainian people on the wonderful news from the Crimean Bridge"

At the beginning of October 2022, unknown people hung a white-red-white flag and the flag of Ukraine on a power line support in Minsk.

The next day, Anton Matolka's Telegram channel posted a photo of the flag and the caption: "Minsk residents congratulate the Ukrainian people on the wonderful news from the Crimean Bridge. Crimea is Ukraine! Long live Belarus! Glory to Ukraine!" Later, police officers detained six Minsk residents aged from 34 to 36 years, who allegedly did it: Ihar Tsikach, Yuryi Nestsiarenka, Ihar Tsiaptseyeu, Uladzimir Savelyeu, Viktar Hrynko.

On June 15, 2023, all six political prisoners were sentenced to imprisonment under four criminal articles. The result of the trial is unknown to human rights defenders.


At the end of February, a man called Aliaksandr donated about two thousand euros to the Ukrainian army. After that, he was taken to the KGB for an interview, and then he was declared a suspect in the financing of terrorism. His apartment, business, and personal accounts, and even a bank card of his 10-year-old son with a disability were seized.

The man managed to leave Belarus with his family, but the law enforcers started to put pressure on his parents threatening to arrest the couple in their late 60s if they fail to persuade their son to come back to Belarus.


Student Danuta Peradnia was detained on February 28, 2022 in Mahileu. A criminal case was opened against the girl under Article 361 of the Criminal Code (calls for actions aimed at harming national security) and Article 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting Lukashenka). She was accused of reposting a text on February 27 to one of Mahileu chats, which sharply criticized the actions of Vladimir Putin and Aliaksandr Lukashenka initiating the war in Ukraine.

As a result, on November 22, 2022, the Mahileu Regional Court sentenced the 21-year-old girl for the anti-war repost to six and a half years in a general security colony.


April 13, 2023 in the Homel Regional Court an electrician of a Green store in Homel Uladzimir Yakimets was sentenced to two years in a penal colony for publicly denouncing Russian military aggression in one chat. 

Detentions for donates to Belarusians fighting on the side of Ukraine

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Software engineer Leanid Raichonak, sentenced to six years in a penal colony on October 17, 2023 for donating to Belarusian volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine

36-year-old programmer from Brest Leanid Raichonak was sentenced to six years in prison on October 17, 2023 for donating to Belarusian volunteers who are fighting on the side of Ukraine.

According to the prosecution's version, he transferred $400 to volunteers for bulletproof vests last year. He made the second donation in the amount of $150 for the Prague Support Team (an association of Belarusians in Prague who collect donations and use them to buy uniforms, sometimes for weapon accessories for Belarusian volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine).


Anastasia Petrachenka was detained for transferring money to Kalinoŭski regiment on October 21, 2022. A criminal case was opened against the girl, and she was placed in a pre-trial detention center.

On June 14, 2023, the Homel Regional Court sentenced Anastasia to three years in a general security colony. 


Uladzislau Yatsenka was sentenced to five years in a medium-security penal colony on January 16, 2023. He also donated on the needs of Kalinoŭski regiment.

Attack in Mačuliščy

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Detention in Senica after the attack in Mačuliščy. A screenshot from a pro-government video

On February 26, 2023, two explosions sounded at a military airfield in the urban settlement of Mačuliščy near Minsk. Later it became known that a Russian military long-range reconnaissance aircraft located at this airfield was blown up and disabled. It was used to aim Russian missiles at targets in Ukraine.

After the attack, a wave of detentions took place in Belarus, which the security forces called a "sweep". The homes of dozens of Belarusians were searched, after which they were interrogated and detained. Some of them were later released.

Those who had been prosecuted under administrative political articles from 2020 to 2023 fell under persecution. There were also mass detentions targeting psychotherapists and reenactors. This was due to the fact that the two defendants in the case, who were abroad, in the opinion of security forces, could have had connections in those communities in Belarus.

A film was released on a pro-government TV channel ONT, which spoke about some high-profile detentions.

On the third of March, the KGB reported that about 30 people were being investigated with criminal cases initiated against them under Part 3 of Article 289 of the Criminal Code (an act of terrorism committed by an organized group). And more than 20 people were detained. Persons involved in the criminal case of the Mačuliščy attack may face an exceptional measure of punishment and be shot.

Later, 10 people detained for ten days in the KGB detention center were released. As of today, the names of 13 people who were detained in this case are known.

The main person involved in the case was a detained Ukrainian Mikalai Shvets with the call sign Gaspar.

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Printer Aleh Sychou. Photo: screenshot from a pro-government video

On the fourth of March, after the attack and an unsuccessful attempt to flee from Belarus, Shvets was detained by security forces. The arrest took place in the house of printer Aleh Sychou with his wife Nasta Pilko.

On the ninth of March, Dzmitryi Shadko, the assistant to the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, was detained. He was released on March 24.

A Ukrainian from Chernihiv Andrei Shmai, who worked in the Vicebsk Regional Executive Committee, was detained on January 19. From 2006 to 2013, he served on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. He is accused of allegedly sending information “about the situation in Belarus” since September 2022 to his brother, who is serving in the army in Chernihiv.

Now the man is being held in the KGB pre-trial detention center on charges under Article 358-1 of the Criminal Code (agent activity).

Another person involved in the case is Belarusian Vadzim Patsenka. He is charged with Part 2 of Article 289 of the Criminal Code (act of terrorism).

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