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What happened to political prisoners between November 27 and December 5

2023 2023-12-05T18:44:49+0300 2023-12-05T18:45:24+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.

14 people were recognized as political prisoners over the past week. At the moment, there are 1,451 people on the list of political prisoners. In addition, human rights activists learned that 10 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released: Viktar ShauraI, Daniil Dzitkouski, Pavel Belaholau, Pavel Dvorak, Henadz Mazheika, Dzmitryi Lukashevich, Pavel Mazko, Raman Paulenka, Pavel Babchanok, and Vadzim Chapialevich.

Problems with the spine, blocked correspondence. News on political prisoner Tatsiana Kaneuskaya 

Таццяна Канеўская. Фота:

Tatsiana is an activist of the initiative Mother's Movement 328. She fought for the freedom of her son, who was convicted of a drug crime. In May 2021, she was sentenced to 6 years in a penal colony under two articles of the Criminal Code: Part 2 of Article 293 (participation in mass riots) and Article 292 (seizure of buildings).

In the colony, Tatsiana was placed in a punishment cell (PKT) and in a solitary confinement cell (SHIZO). In January 2022, Tatsiana's punishment was increased and she was transferred to a prison security level.

According to human rights activists, she is deprived of visits, and she is allowed to get only one small parcel a year. Letters from her come rarely. She will be held in prison until March, and then she must be transferred to the Homeĺ colony.

In addition, she has problems with her spine.

Political prisoner Ryhor Kastusiou complains about his deteriorating health


His son-in-law Dzmitryi Antonchyk told Svaboda about Kastusiou's mood in the Ivatsevičy colony Wolf Holes:

"He is very worried that he might not get the medicines that are sent to him from the outside. He feels hat his condition is deteriorating due to cancer. According to the plan drawn up by the doctors during the examination, he should have a blood test in November–December. But we don't know whether it will happen. The results of the examination have not been shared yet.

The politician is also disappointed that he did not have a visit. It was supposed to take place on November 29, but visits are not allowed in the PKT.

Another trial of blogger Uladzimir Tsyhanovich has begun in Vaŭkavysk

Уладзімір Цыгановіч

43-year-old creator of the MozgON Youtube channel was transferred to a new colony only three months ago after his last sentence: in April he was sentenced to another year in prison. During this time, the administration of Vaŭkavysk colony No. 11 initiated the second consecutive criminal case under Part 2 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the colony administration).

Now the political prisoner can get two more years of imprisonment to 16 years in a penal colony.

Uladzimir will be tried on November 30 in Vaŭkavysk. The case is being handled by a judge Mikalai Siarheika.

Political prisoner Viktoryia Kulsha has again been placed in a solitary confinement cell. She has spent 70 days there in the last six months

Вікторыя Кульша

Viktoryia was convicted twice in a year under Part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the lawful requirements of the colony administration). The last time the court sentenced the woman to one more year of imprisonment in addition to three and a half years of the colony.

On June 22, the woman was again transferred to the women's colony No. 24. Now it has become known that recently she was once again placed in a solitary confinement cell; in six months she was kept there for at least 70 days. At the same time, a few months ago she was placed in PKT.

Recall that earlier at the Zarečča penal colony, Kulsha spent at least 92 days in solitary confinement and six months in a punishment cell. It is reported that one of the guards applied a rare choke on her and dragged her around the cell. Because of the hunger strikes, she had a heart attack twice.

Political prisoner Yan Papkovich will be tried again 


Yan is an ex-special forces soldier, a former collector of Belgazprombank, who quit and was going to leave for Poland with his wife and brother Ales in September 2022. But the day before that he had been detained by the Alpha group. During the detention, Yan was severely beaten, and his dog was shot.

He was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. Yan was found guilty under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order) and Part 1 of Article 13 and Part 1 of Article 361-3 of the Criminal Code (preparation for participation in an armed formation on the territory of a foreign state).

It has now become known that, at the initiative of the administration of Mahilioŭ colony No. 15, a criminal case was opened against him under Part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the legitimate demands of the colony administration). Yan's trial will begin in Mahilioŭ on December 14. The case will be considered by judge Tatsiana Mikhailava.

After a long break, the trial of political prisoner Yaraslau Sakovich resumed 


Yaraslau was detained on August 5, 2022. Until 2021, he lived in Ukraine and married to a Ukrainian woman. Upon his return to Belarus, he was detained by KGB officers, who tortured him and forced out a confession that he had previously fought in Ukraine. Then he was released, but a year later he was detained as part of a criminal case.

On May 4, in Minsk, he was sentenced to two years in prison under two articles of the Criminal Code. But in August, a trial for "treason to the state" under Article 356 of the Criminal Code started against Yaraslau. Presumably, since September 11, the court was adjourned, but today the court sessions resumed.

The Supreme Court considered an appeal against Eduard Babaryka's conviction 

Эдуард Бабарыка на на агалошванні прысуду 5 ліпеня 2023 года

On July 5, the Minsk Regional Court handed down a verdict in the Babaryka case: 8 years in a medium security penal colony. At the same time, the time of his detention in the KGB pre-trial detention center until December 14, 2021 on the original charge was not counted.

He was found guilty under Part 3 of Article 130 (inciting other social hatred), Paragraph 6 of Article 16 and Part 1 of Article 342 (aiding in organizing actions that grossly violate public order) and Part 2 of Article 243 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code. 

According to the Telegram channel of the Supreme Court, the verdict was left unchanged, and the appeal was dismissed.

Political prisoner Uladzimir Kazeka detained again and placed in a temporary detention facility

Уладзімір Казека. Фота:

The farm owner from the village of Ludvinava in the Drahičynski district was detained again on October 28. According to preliminary information, his house was searched, and office equipment was confiscated. After his phone was checked, he was detained under Article 19.11 Part 2 of the Administrative Code (dissemination of extremist information) for old subscriptions.

On October 30, he was arrested for 15 days in the Court of the Ivanava District. The case was considered by judge Mikalai Stasevich. Since his arrest, Uladzimir has been held in the temporary detention facility of the Ivanava district.

Uladzimir was previously detained on May 9, 2023 at the Terespal-Brest border crossing when he was returning to Belarus. Then he was tried three times in a row under Part 2 of Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code. In June, he was released after 43 days of arrest. After the third trial, Uladzimir started a hunger strike and held it until he was released.

Lawyer Anastasiya Lazarenka was transferred to the Homeĺ colony


The political prisoner was detained on June 2, 2022. On May 11, the Minsk City Court sentenced her to 6 years in a general security colony.

Anastasiya was found guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code for "leaking the data of security forces and judges to the Black Book of Belarus", as well as for participating in the March for Freedom in August 2020. Lazarenka did not admit her guilt at the trial. She has an old father and a son who has had Crohn's disease since the age of 16.

It became known that in early November Anastasiya had already been transferred to Homeĺ women's colony No. 4. The other day, the KGB added thhe woman to the "terrorist list".

During the three months in the Homeĺ pre-trial detention center Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk received more than 150 messages from outside


According to information from Palina's husband Andrei Sharenda, such a wave of solidarity supports the woman a lot, writes Brest Viasna.

At the same time, the letters that are sent to Palina are destroyed (if the letter is registered, then they are destroyed in front of the woman, and simple letters even without her knowledge).

It is also known that the photos of her children she had not seen for 3 years did not reach the political prisoner.

Recall that on December 15, an appeal against Palina's last sentence will be considered. By that time, she will be in the Homeĺ pre-trial detention center, where she can be supported. If the last sentence is left unchanged, then any people except for close relatives will not be able to send money or parcels to the colony.

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