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Review of the news on political prisoners from September 5 to 12

2023 2023-09-14T12:32:31+0300 2023-09-14T12:32:31+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

For more than three years, the security forces have been continuously carrying out mass repressions in Belarus. The number of political prisoners is increasing almost weekly in the country, and every day human rights defenders receive information about the terrible conditions of detention of prisoners, about pressure on them from the administration of institutions, as well as about the deterioration of the health of political prisoners in custody. Viasna writes of the latest news on political prisoners in a weekly review.

25 people were recognized as political prisoners during this time. At the moment, there are 1,517 people on the list of political prisoners. Also during this time it became known that six political prisoners had served their sentences and were released, including Matsvei Hrankevich, Stsiapan Talkachou, Illia Palkhouski, and Aliaksandr Yunitski.

Over the past weeks, it became known about the sentences in politically motivated cases of five political prisoners: 

Political prisoner Siarhei Monich was not released after his sentence ended since a new case was initiated against him

Siarhei is a resident of Zaslaul and has two minor children. He was detained on December 21, 2020. In April 2021, the Minsk District Court convicted him of writing the words "riot police are murderers", "3%" under Part 1 of Article 339 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism), for writing the words "Kubrakau is a fascist" under Article 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities), as well as for possession and transportation of narcotic drugs: 0.1 g of marijuana without a sales purpose, Part 1 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code for up to 3 years in a penal colony.

The political prisoner was supposed to be released on August 21. The prisoner's relatives do not know anything about the new case, and the penal colony replied that the prisoner was placed in a punitive confinement cell until September 19.

It is known that the administration of Mahileu colony No. 15 constantly put pressure on Siarhei and often placed him into punitive confinement.

It became known where military analyst Yahor Lebiadok is serving his sentence

Yahor Lebiadok

Recall that judge Alena Misnik sentenced the political prisoner to 5 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony under Part 1 and Part 2 of Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promotion of extremist activity).

Yahor is serving his sentence in the Ivatsevichy colony.

Ihar Shumilau, a Baranavichy activist with a disability of the third group, was transferred to the Shklou colony 

Recall, on May 30, Ihar was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison under three articles of the Criminal Code for four pictures on Adnaklasniki social media page. Judge Mikalai Kmita considered his case in one hour.

Ihar has a disability of the third group: 10 years ago he got into an accident and lost his leg, and because of it he has a serious problem with his right arm. The man has an 11-year-old son.

Now it has become known that Ihar was recently transferred to correctional colony No. 17.

Political prisoner Anastasia Petrachenka, convicted of donating to Kalinouski regiment, was transferred to the Homel penal colony 

Anastasia moved from Belarus to Poland after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion to Ukraine. While in a neighboring country, she tried to make a donation from her Belarusian bank account via Internet banking to Kalinouski regiment in the amount of 16.71 US dollars, but the transaction failed.

Later, the political prisoner decided to return to Belarus, where she was detained. The court sentenced the girl to three years in a penal colony.

According to the information of the Homel Viasna, the girl began serving her sentence in Homel women's colony No. 4.

There has been no information from political prisoner Uladzimir Hundar for 38 days

On June 6, the Hrodna Regional Court upheld the verdict of the political prisoner unchanged: 20 years in a penal colony. The very next day, he was immediately transferred from a punishment cell to a colony. At the same time, Hundar's wife was allowed a meeting with him, but she did not manage to get to him on time because of the quick transfer of the prisoner.

Upon arrival in the colony, he was placed in a punitive confinement cell several times. According to the information of the Brest Viasna, the last time he called his family from the colony on August 3, and since then there have been no calls or letters.

Relatives believe that Hundar could have been placed in a punitive confinement cell.

The chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, Aliaksandr Yarashuk, is transferred to a prison in Mahileu 

Recall that Aliaksandr was sentenced to 4 years in a general security penal colony, Siarhei Antusevich to up to 2 years, and Iryna But-Husaim to up to 1 year and 6 months.

The activists were accused of actions grossly violating public order (Part 1 of Article 342), and Yarashuk was also accused of calling for restrictive measures and other actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus (Part 3 of Article 361).

Political prisoner Dzmitryi Suschyk was recently convicted of "disobedience" to the prison administration

A resident of Navahrudak was detained by Russian border guards on February 17, 2022, when he tried to leave Belarus. A month later, Dzmitryi was sentenced under Part 1 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code "insulting Lukashenka" and Article 370 of the Criminal Code "mocking state symbols" to a year and a half in a penal colony.

The political prisoner served his term in Orsha colony No. 8, where immediately upon arrival they began to put pressure on him: they placed him in a punitive confinement cell ("SHIZO") and then they transferred him to a punishment cell (“PKT”). Later, his punishment was increased and he was transferred to a prison in Hrodna.

Recently it became known that a trial under Part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the prison administration) took place in Orsha on September 1. Dzmitryi's case was considered by judge Natallia Kozel. The result is still unknown to human rights defenders.

Political prisoner Andrei Pachobut was awarded the medal of the 75th anniversary of the mission of Jan Karski

On Sunday in Lublin, his brother Stanislau received the award for Andrei, writes @byplradio.

The medal dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the mission of Jan Karski is an award for people representing the values that guided the legendary Jan Karski in his life and work: tolerance, respect, and a sense of community with other people.

Political prisoner Ryhor Kastuseu is kept in a punitive confinement cell for a long time 

Dzmitryi Antonchyk, the son-in-law of the chairman of the Belarusian National Front Party, wrote about that on Facebook.

Recall, Kastuseu was sentenced to 10 years in a penal colony. In confinement, Ryhor's health problems worsened: he was diagnosed with cancer.

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