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At least 310 detainees: results of administrative prosecution in January

2024 2024-02-07T12:35:38+0300 2024-02-07T12:35:38+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Harsh detentions of Belarusians continue daily throughout Belarus; most of them are put behind bars in administrative cases. In January, human rights defenders of Viasna recorded at least 560 cases of repression, of which at least 310 were detentions. That is about 10 detainees a day. Also last month, at least 349 administrative cases were consideredThe courts have imposed at least 46 administrative arrests and 77 fines. Viasna compiled a list of the strangest and most ridiculous reasons why Belarusians were tried in January. 

The results of the crackdown on January 23 and 24

Throughout Belarus, on January 23, KGB officers conducted mass searches, interrogations, and detentions of relatives and loved ones of political prisoners, as well as former political prisoners who had recently left prison and remained in the country. According to Viasna, at least 200 people were persecuted. After the searches, people were taken away for interrogation, and then released with a non-disclosure agreement. 

As a result, several dozen people were convicted in administrative cases, and some were detained in criminal cases.

Марына Адамовіч
Maryna Adamovich

Administrative reports were drawn up against those who had "extremist reposts and subscriptions," or those who "shouted and waved their hands during a conversation with the police." For example, the wife of political prisoner and ex-presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, Maryna Adamovich, was sentenced to 15 days for "petty hooliganism" (Article 19.1 of the Administrative Code).

"Who helps with care packages?" Details of the mass crackdown by security forces on relatives of political prisoners updated

Viasna reports what is now known about the persecution of relatives of political prisoners, and human rights activist Pavel Sapelka has commented on the KGB crackdown and recalled important security measures that will help avoid imprisonment.

Also, after the detention, former political prisoner Aliaksei Ramanau, who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, was not released. He was taken for an interrogation by the KGB on suspicion of participating in an "extremist formation." As is became known to Svaboda, after hours of interrogation in the Homieĺ KGB department, Aliaksei was taken to a temporary detention center. In the evening of that day, he was driven to his house so that his relatives would give him some necessary things and medicines. Later, Ramanau was convicted under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code for dissemination of extremist materials.

Polack resident Liudmila Anashkevich was arrested for 15 days for an "extremist" link in private correspondence. KGB officers took her mobile phone and letters from political prisoner and leader of Naftan independent trade union Volha Brytsikava. The basis for drawing up the report was a private correspondence with a friend in Poland: a woman sent him a link to an article from a resource that was recognized as "extremist".

Trials under a new administrative article

It also became known that several people were sentenced to fines under Part 2 of Article 24.15 of the Administrative Code: "the use of foreign gratuitous aid to carry out terrorist and other extremist activities or other actions prohibited by law." This article has not been used in Belarus before.

Belarusians are now tried for "using foreign aid to carry out extremist activities"

Viasna human rights activist Pavel Sapelka comments on a new repressive practice of the Belarusian authorities.

Former political prisoner and journalist Siarhei Hardziyevich was arrested for 15 days

Siarhei Hardziyevich, a former correspondent of an independent website Pershy Rehiyon from Drahičyn, was detained on January 24. A report was drawn up against him under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code for reposting publications from the Hancavicki Chas website on social media.

On January 26, Siarhei's case was considered in the Drahičyn District Court. Judge Yuliya Kuksa found him guilty and sentenced him to 15 days of arrest. At the same time, the judge did not take into account the fact that Siarhei's health deteriorated significantly: he lost consciousness and had to have numerous consultations with doctors.

Tatsiana Seviarynets was fined 5,400 rubles

Таццяна Севярынец. Фота: Беларускае Радыё Рацыя.

The detention of the mother of political prisoner Pavel Seviarynets became known on January 9. After the arrest, the woman was taken to the hospital, and later she was released. Two reports were drawn up against the woman: for "dissemination of extremist materials" (Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code) and "unauthorized picketing" (Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code).

On January 25, Tatsiana's case was considered in the Peršamajski District Court of Viciebsk. The result was a fine of 5,400 rubles (1,534 euros).

At least 207 detained upon return to Belarus: current statistics from Viasna for 2023

Viasna has collected all known information about the persecution of people returning to Belarus from abroad.

For the third time in a row, a participant in the Naftan strike was detained

On January 9, the judge of the Navapolack Court, Zinaida Balabolava, sentenced Aliaksandr Liashkou, an employee of Naftan, to 15 days of arrest for distributing "extremist" materials. This is the third consecutive arrest of the participant of the 2020 strike. In total, he was sentenced to 44 days of arrest. 

According to the report of a policeman from the Navapolack police department, Aliaksandr sent a link to a Youtube video named Coordination Council to a chat named Naftan of Caring People. Earlier, this resource was included in the republican list of extremist materials. At the court hearing, the man pleaded not guilty.

Navapolack resident called 102, said "Glory to Ukraine", and was arrested for 15 days 

A trial of a local resident took place in Navapolack on January 12. He was charged under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code (unauthorized picketing). The reason was a phone call to 102, during which the man said "Glory to Ukraine." He admitted his guilt at the trial. Judge Zinaida Balabolava sentenced him to 15 days of arrest.

Shot in knees and jailed: what Belarusians risks for their anti-war stance updated

As of October 18, 2023, at least 1,630 Belarusians were detained for their anti-war position. Of these, 79 persons were convicted in criminal cases for a term of 1 to 23 years. 

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