In May, 51 people criminally convicted in political cases
In May, the Viasna Human Rights Center observed a continuing trend toward criminal prosecution and convictions of citizens for political reasons. According to the available data, about 141 people were repressed during the past month.
Activists have information about at least 51 citizens convicted in May, of which 17 are women and 34 are men.
Two individuals have been convicted in absentia, while another defendant in the same case, sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment, was pardoned by Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Within the last month, there was a recorded reduction in the sentence of a political prisoner at the appeal level. A month earlier, his case was reviewed under supervisory proceedings. Within that same month, the same political prisoner, serving sentences for multiple convictions, could have been convicted twice by the courts for previous comments. In May, there was one recorded instance of a defendant being convicted for a repeated violation of public event regulations within a year after receiving an administrative penalty. Regarding criminal prosecutions based on political motives in May, most cases pertained to charges under Article 342 of the Criminal Code for events that happened in 2020.
May sentences in numbers:
- 18 people were sentenced to a total of 68 years of imprisonment
- 2 people were sentenced to a total of 4 years of freedom restriction in an open penitentiary
- 30 people were sentenced to a total of 77 years under home confinement
- 3 people were fined a total of 23,310 Belarusian rubles (approx. $8,600) as an additional punishment to imprisonment and home confinement
In May, the courts handed down custodial sentences in 35,3% of all cases. Another 3,9% of the sentences involved restriction of freedom in open-type facilities. Home confinement was ordered in 58,8% of all cases. Short-term imprisonment was applied in 2% of cases.
Thus, the courts handed down various custodial and freedom-restricting sentences in all politically motivated trials in May.
In April, the Viasna Human Rights Center observed a continuing trend toward criminal prosecution and convictions of citizens for political reasons. According to the available data, about 123 people were repressed during the past month. Activists have information about at least 43 citizens convicted in April, of which 11 are women and 32 are men.