22 political prisoners released in November having served their sentences
At the moment, there are 1,451 political prisoners in Belarus, and their number is increasing weekly. At the same time, every month several dozen political prisoners leave their places of detention either after the expiration of the term, or after the trial before being sent to an open-type correctional institution or at the beginning of their home confinement. At least 25 political prisoners were released in November, 22 of whom served their terms in full, and two people were sentenced to home confinement and released from pre-trial detention, according to human rights defenders. The sentence of another political prisoner was suspended by the Supreme Court, so she was released from the detention center. Viasna recounts their cases and terms in the monthly digest.
22 political prisoners have served their sentences in full and have been released
We publish the stories of some of them.
Political prisoner Artsiom Andrasiuk — 1 year, 11 months, and 28 days in prison
The man was convicted in the Brest Round dance case, initiated on the events of September 13, 2020, when protesters took to the roadway and were dispersed by a water cannon. On August 4, 2021, in the Court of the Maskoŭski District of Brest, the political prisoner was sentenced to two years of an open-type correctional facility under Article 342 of the Criminal Code.
Since November 11, 2021, the Brest resident has been serving time in Kruhlianski open-type correctional facility-46. According to Brest Viasna, Artsiom was released on November 8.
Political prisoner Andrei Herasimovich — 2 years, 4 months, and 21 days in prison
Andrei is a resident of Hrodna, a former student of Yanka Kupala Hrodna State University. The man was charged under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (violence against police officers) and Article 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order). He pleaded partially guilty. On June 18, 2021, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and taken into custody in the courtroom.
The man served his term in Babrujsk colony No. 2, where the administration often placed the political prisoner in a penal isolation cell. He was recently transferred to a punishment cell (PKT) for a period of 5 months.
According to human rights activists, Andrei was released on November 8. Before his release, he had been held in a solitary confinement cell for the last eight days.
Political prisoner Siarhei Nepahoda — 2 years, 7 months, and 18 days in prison
Siarhei is the third convicted person involved in the case for a scuffle with security forces on June 19, 2020 in Maladzečna after a solidarity action, when protesters fought the police to free a detainee, and a riot policeman pulled out a gun. Pavel Piaskou and Uladzislau Yeustsihneyeu were sentenced to three years in a penal colony at the end of September 2020.
Nepahoda was recognized as a suspect, but went abroad and was not present at the trial. He was detained on March 17, 2021 in St. Petersburg, placed in a Russian pre-trial detention center for six months, and when the period of detention expired, he was expelled to Belarus due to violation of the migration laws.
Nepahoda was sentenced under Part 2 of Article 363 of the Criminal Code (resistance with violence) to three years in a general security colony. Human rights activists learned that on November 4, Siarhei was released from penal colony-15.
Political prisoner Andrei Matsonka — about one year in prison
In December last year, Andrei was convicted in the October Court of Hrodna under Part 1 of Article 368 (insulting Lukashenka) of the Criminal Code. Judge Dzmitryi Kedal sentenced the man to one year of imprisonment in a general security penal colony.
Andrei was accused of posting an image and text on his Odnoklassniki social media page that "humiliate the honor and dignity of a person, contain offensive information and a negative assessment" of Lukashenka. Andrei's posts were noticed by a police officer while the latter was monitoring social media.
Andrei has a minor child. The man was recently released from Babrujsk colony No. 2.
Three political prisoners from Brest were released after serving almost three years of imprisonment
According to Brest Viasna, these are Pavel Mazko, Raman Paulenka, and Vadzim Chapialevich. They were convicted under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in mass riots) for participating in protests in Brest in August 2020.
Pavel was sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony, while Raman and Vadzim were sentenced to three years in a penal colony.
Mazko and Paulenka were released from Navapolack colony No. 1 after the expiration of their terms in November, and Chapialevich from Viciebsk colony No. 3.
Political prisoner Pavel Babchanok — 1 year, 9 months, and 20 days in prison
Pavel is the owner of a Homeĺ beauty store chain Krasunia. Babchanok was accused of "inciting hatred" under Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code. According to official information, in September 2020, he posted a screenshot that contained a photo from 2020 protest in Homieĺ. He accompanied his publication with a text in which he called the security forces "subhumans" and expressed hope that they "will be held accountable for the crimes against their people."
In August 2022, the court sentenced him to imprisonment in a general security colony for a period of two years.
According to Homeĺ Spring, Pavel was released from Viciebsk colony No. 3 on November 28.
Political prisoner Tatsiana Pytko — 5 months and 18 days of imprisonment
On November 22, the Supreme Court considered appeals against the decision of the Viciebsk Regional Court to sentence political prisoners and spouses Tatsiana Pytko and Viachaslau Lazarau to three and five and a half years in prison, respectively. As a result, judge Yuryi Rutkouski decided to sentence Tatsiana to the same three years of imprisonment in a general security colony, but with a three-year suspension.
Tatsiana could have been released on the same day, but the Viciebsk pre-trial detention center was waiting for documents from the Supreme Court, so she was released only on November 24.
Two political prisoners were released after the trial
In September, the Belarusian courts in the absolute majority sentenced political prisoners to imprisonment. Only two people were released from pre-trial detention facilities after the trials: they were sentenced to home confinement. But these data may be incomplete, since not all the results of the trials of political prisoners are yet known to human rights defenders. These are:
Dzianis Halauko — three years of home confinement;
Alena Dzmitryeva — three years of home confinement