35 political prisoners released in January having served their sentences
At the moment, there are 1,416 political prisoners in Belarus, and their number is increasing almost 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. According to Viasna, at least 35 people were released in January, who served their sentences in full, and two of them spent more than three years behind bars. Two more women were sentenced to home confinement and released from a pre-trial detention facility. Viasna recounts their cases and terms in the monthly digest.
It should be noted that the number of political prisoners released after serving their sentence may be higher due to the lack of reliable information about their release. If you know that a person convicted for political reasons is already out of prison, please inform human rights defenders via Telegram: @Viasnainfo.
Political prisoner Zinaida Mikhniuk — 1 year, 10 months, and 4 days of imprisonment
Zinaida Mikhniuk, a trade union activist, was detained on March 25, 2020 after searches of her home and office. She was kept in pre-trial detention center No. 7 in Brest. The woman was accused of insulting Lukashenka under Part 1 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code. In May 2022, the court sentenced the political prisoner to two years in a penal colony.
The political prisoner served her term in Homieĺ colony No. 4. According to the information of Brest Viasna, on January 29, the political prisoner was released after fully serving her sentence.
Political prisoner Andrei Bialiauski — 1 year, 8 months, and 8 days of imprisonment
In the Court of the Babrujsk District and the City of Babrujsk, on August 22, 2022, a TikTok blogger was sentenced to two years in a general security penal colony. According to the prosecution, Bialiauski "posted two videos on Tik-Tok social media with insults against Lukashenka" (Article 368 of the Criminal Code).
Bialiauski was arrested at work, in his own bicycle shop. Together with Bialiauski, his minor son was also taken away. Then the son was released and given to his grandparents. After his detention, the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption took over Bialiauski's TikTok account.
Andrey was released from Viciebsk colony No. 3 on January 5. A video from the day of his release appeared on TikTok.
Political prisoner Aliaksandr Babich — 3 years, 3 months, and 19 days of imprisonment
The Brest resident was accused under Article 363 of the Criminal Code (resistance to an employee of the internal affairs bodies): the man allegedly kicked a riot policeman twice. According to the case materials, by these actions the man inflicted "physical pain and moral suffering” on security officer Rusilau.
In December 2020, he was sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony. Aliaksandr served his sentence in Viciebsk colony No. 3. On January 9, the political prisoner was released, writes Brest Viasna.
Political prisoner Aliaksandr Luchynovich — 1 year, 9 months, and 13 days of imprisonment
Aliaksandr is a train conductor from Homieĺ. He was detained on March 31, 2022 at work in the Homieĺ branch of the Belarusian Railway. At first, he was sentenced to administrative arrest, and then re-detained as part of a criminal case under Part 1 of Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code (assistance to extremist activities). The reason was him transferring photos of Russian military equipment to the Belaruski Hayun Telegram channel.
In July 2022, Luchynovich was sentenced to two years in prison. On January 13, 2024, Aliaksandr was released from Mahilioŭ colony No. 15.
Political prisoner Artsiom Takarchuk — 3 years, 3 months, and 22 days of imprisonment
In November 2020, the architect from Minsk was sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony for resisting a soldier on the March of Heroes (Part 2 of Article 363 of the Criminal Code).
When the soldiers began to surround the protesters on Meĺnikajte Street and detain them, panic began in the crowd, some began to run and fall. According to Artsiom Takarchuk, he wanted to help the fallen people.
But he was brutally detained, and afterwards he had to have his head sutured in the hospital. Two days later, he was detained again, as part of a criminal case. And after this detention, he was taken from the Investigative Committee to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion and a closed craniocerebral injury and had numerous bruises all over his body.
Artsiom served his term in Mahilioŭ colony No. 15. He was released on May 6.
Two political prisoners were released after the trial
In January, the courts in Belarus overwhelmingly sentenced political prisoners to imprisonment. Only two women were released from pre-trial detention facilities after the trials being 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: