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What happened to political prisoners between October 25 and November 2

2023 2023-11-03T18:29:36+0300 2023-11-03T18:29:36+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

For over three years, the security forces in Belarus have been relentlessly carrying out mass repressions. Each week, the number of political prisoners increases, and human rights defenders receive daily updates about detainees' terrible conditions, pressure from the prison administration, and the worsening health of political prisoners in custody. Viasna provides a weekly overview of the latest news on political prisoners.

During this time, 15 people were recognized as political prisoners. At the moment, there are 1,471 people on the list of political prisoners. Last week, human rights activists learned that 22 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released: Uladzimir Hanusevich, Aliaksandr Konanau, Albert Harbuz, Siarhei Hlinski , Maksim Stashulionak, Anatol Puhach, Siarhei Antusevich, Valeryi Adaleuski, Illia Vaitsiakhovich, Ihar Tsiaptseyeu, Liudmila Samak, Piotr Piatrusha, Aliaksei Kandratsenka, Siarhei Ivanou, Aliaksandr Katsenka, Aliaksandr Shmatau, Yauhen Bantsevich, Yauhen Shpilkou, Siarhei Bankou, Viktar Kulesh, Aliaksei Mihno, and Ihar Novikau.

In addition, human rights activists learned about the sentences of three political prisoners in politically motivated cases: 

"The kidney was not transplanted." Political prisoner Vasil Berasneu was returned to a penal colony

Maksim Pazniakou told Svaboda about the situation with the political prisoner; the former now resides abroad and temporarily serves as the chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions.

"He was examined in the hospital for 2 days and sent back to the colony. No results were reported. They said he would get it later, in the colony. The sources I've been in contact with don't even know how he feels right now," Maksim said.

According to him, Berasneu was returned to the colony in the first half of October.

73-year-old Vasil is the leader and the acting chairman of an independent trade union of Radioelectronic Industry Workers from Orša. Judge Anastasia Papko sentenced him to 9 years of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony. Even during his stay in the pre-trial detention center, Vasil's health condition deteriorated significantly: the most dangerous thing is that he suffers from pain in his only kidney. However, his health situation is so critical that medical treatment does not make sense. A kidney transplant is needed.

"She needs good therapy," the husband of journalistIryna Slaunikava speaks about her condition in the colony

Iryna Slaunikava

The husband of the political prisoner told Svaboda the latest information about Slaunikava:

"She said that she had very little free time. She works as a seamstress, and this is quite a hard, stressful job. She gets tired. Works two shifts. Sometimes on Saturdays. In addition to this, she is regularly put on duty: a living room in the colony has to be cleaned, then she is sent to work in the kitchen, and she doesn't have enough free time because of this. There is not enough time even to write a letter.

Besides the fact that her eyesight deteriorated and new glasses had to be ordered, her previous illness affects her. She needs good therapy. Her relatives do what they can, give her medicines. It's good that they accept the medications. And the rest... let's hope for the best."

Recall that Iryna was sentenced to 5 years in a penal colony under two articles of the Criminal Code.

The date of consideration of the appeal of political prisoner Tatsiana Biziuk became known. 

21-year-old Tatsiana was detained on February 10, 2023. The young woman was charged under Parts 1 and 2 of Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (promotion of extremist activity). Her trial began on August 2 in the Minsk Regional Court. Judge Alena Misnik found the woman guilty and sentenced her to 3 years in a penal colony.

On November 3, the Supreme Court will consider the appeal of the political prisoner. The decision will be taken by the judicial board under the chairmanship of the judge Aliaksei Tsiatsiukhin.

Political prisoner Andrei Pachobut does not receive the necessary medicines  

Vice-Chairman of the Union of Poles of Belarus Marek Zaneuski told about this during a monthly solidarity action. In an interview with journalists, he estimated that the situation of Pachobut in the colony is difficult.

"His family receives letters from him, but in a very limited number. We know from them that he still does not receive the medications he needs every day. We are trying to find out more by any means and monitor the situation in every possible way," the Belarusian service of Polish Radio quotes him.

We remind that Pachobut was sentenced to 8 years in a penal colony under Article 361 of the Criminal Code (calls for actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus) and Article 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement to hatred).

From 7.5 to 9 years in a penal colony. TOR BAND musicians sentenced to long terms 

The Homeĺ Regional Court announced a verdict in criminal cases against the musicians of a famous Belarusian music act Tor Band, whose songs became a symbol of protest in 2020.

Yauhen Burlo was sentenced to eight years in a penal colony, Dzmitryi Halavach to nine years in a penal colony, and Andrei Yaremchyk to seven and a half years in a penal colony. The security level has been raised for everyone and a fine of 3700 roubles (around 1050 euros) was imposed. Such a sentence was passed by judge Siarhei Salouski. When the verdict was announced, there were relatives of the musicians in the courtroom.

"They all cried during the annunciation. One of the relatives fainted. Yauhen Burlo has used crutches, and he hardly moves. He did not even get up during the announcement of the verdict. Judge Siarhei Salouski allowed him," the source said.

It is known that Yauhen needs hip surgery. He was promised to receive it. "His health condition is very poor," the source added.

Human rights activist Leonid Sudalenka shared the latest news about Larysa Shchyrakova

"She works as a seamstress in the Homeĺ colony, she does not complain about her health, and she says that she already knows everyone there. She sends greetings and thanks for the support! She hopes that she will not have to serve the term until the end (she jokes that this is not included in her plans)...

Larysa also reports that she has already been received one large care package (up to 50 kg once every three months), which has things she really needs. She wants to get a long visit (up to 3 days) with her son soon."

Recall that on August 31 Larysa was sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment in a general security colony.

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