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Six people have been detained in Belarus on charges of "preparing terrorist acts." What is known about the detainees?

2023 2023-09-13T11:47:15+0300 2023-09-13T11:48:12+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The State Security Committee has detained six people in Belarus on charges of cooperation with the Security Service of Ukraine and "preparation of terrorist attacks." Among the detainees are two Ukrainians, the rest are Belarusians. This became known on September 11, from the video which was shown on all state channels at the same time. In the video, some of them look beaten, some are being led on chains during investigative actions, one of the detainees was filmed in the KGB pre-trial detention center. All the prisoners are in custody. They are accused of attempted terrorism, espionage, and treason. 

One of the detainees during the investigative action

A total of six detainees is reported. Ukrainian huntsman Viachaslau Barodziy was detained on September 1 in the Jelski district of Belarus, which borders with the Zhytomir region of Ukraine. It is known that Viachaslau was born in the Zhytomir region, lived in Mozyr for a while, and then returned to Ukraine and worked as a huntsman, raising three children. 

Viachaslau Barodziy

What exactly he is charged with is still unknown. During the investigative actions, he was led on a chain. Viachaslau Barodziy was placed in a pre-trial detention center.

Viachaslau Barodziy during the investigative action

The State Media reported that three more detainees, Ivan Likhalat, Ivan Barodzich, and Barys Pukhalski, were charged under a number of articles: preparation of an act of terrorism (Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 3 of Article 289 of the Criminal Code), treason to the state (Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code) and espionage (Article 358-1 of the Criminal Code). It should be recalled that now the preparation of an act of terrorism in Belarus is punishable by death.

Detention of Ivan Likhalat

Ivan Barodzich and Barys Pukhalski are from Hrodna, and Ivan Likhalat is a citizen of Ukraine who moved to Belarus in 2013.

Barys Pukhalski during the investigative action

Two more Belarusians, Pavel Vabishchevich and Andrei Zinenka, were detained on the night of August 26-27 on the railway in the Staubtsouski district near an oil depot and the Siniava stopping point. Criminal cases have been opened against them under Part 2 of Article 289 of the Criminal Code (attempted act of terrorism by a group of persons) and Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code (treason to the state). The video claims that they tried to put an explosive device on the railway, which should have been triggered by the command of a curator from the Security Service of Ukraine. Andrei Zinenka is shown in the film with traces of beating on his face.

Pavel Vabishchevich in the KGB pre-trial detention center

State media said that Vabishchevich came to the attention of the security forces when an informer reported him to the KGB chatbot, stating that on June 10 at the station in Orsha he was photographing railway tracks and trains. On August 19, as stated in the video, Vabishchevich arrived in the Loyeuski district of the Homel region, near the Ukrainian border, where he took an explosive device (2.4 kilograms of TNT and a striking element) in a cache and transported it to a cache in the Chervenski district.

And on August 26, Vabishchevich allegedly took another explosive device (1.2 kilograms of TNT) in the Khoinitski district — also near the border with Ukraine — and went to install it on the railway near Stoubtsy. His former colleague Andrei Zinenka drove him by car, as stated in the video. Zinenka looks like the most beaten person in the footage.

Pavel Vabishchevich is said to be a Minsk resident born in 1986.

Andrei Zinenka

40-year-old Andrei Zinenka is a former colleague of Vabishchevich, who "worked in a managerial position and received a high salary," state media emphasize. Such an emphasis on "high salary" is not uncommon in the Lukashenka propaganda.

The detainees are being held in the KGB pre-trial detention center.

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