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The pressure continues: what happened to political prisoners between January 27 and February 13

2024 2024-02-13T17:15:20+0300 2024-02-13T17:15:20+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 reports the latest news about political prisoners.

27 people were recognized as political prisoners over the past week. At the moment, there are 1,417 people on the list of political prisoners. In addition, human rights activists learned that 17 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released, including Zinaida Mikhniuk, Uladzimir Silvanovich, Ihar Pazniakou, Mikhail Firaha, Andrei Sakalouski, Yauhen Zashchytau, Volha Klimkova, Siarhei Lapko, Anton Babrou, Mikhail Feranets.

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

A new criminal case has been initiated against political prisoner Dzmitry Rezanovich


At the discretion of the administration of Ivacevičy colony No. 22, a criminal case was initiated against Dzmitry under Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the colony administration). The date of the trial is still unknown.

Last year, the political prisoner was transferred to a punishment cell (PKT) until March. Earlier it was reported that Dzmitry was repeatedly placed in solitary confinement cell (SHIZO), as well as deprived of visits and care packages and threatened to be transferred to a prison security level.

Dzmitry was detained at the end of October 2020. On December 22, 2021, the Minsk Regional Court sentenced Alinevich and Ramanau to 20 years in a colony; Rezanovich to 19 years in a colony; Dubouski to 18 years in a colony. The trial was held behind closed doors from the first session.

The fourth criminal case in a row might be initiated against Viktoryia Kulsha

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.

According to human rights activists, Viktoryia has been in the PKT for more than a month, but she celebrated the New Year in a SHIZO. It has now become known that the administration of the women's colony No. 24 has initiated the third criminal case against the political prisoner under Article 411 of the Criminal Code. Details are still unknown.

Earlier, in the Zarečča colony, one of the guards applied a rare choke on Viktoryia and dragged her around the cell. Because of the hunger strikes, she had a heart attack twice.

More than a year ago, the connection with political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich disappeared

Мікалай Статкевіч. Фота: Уладзь Грыдзін

Statkevich has been behind bars for more than 3 years and 8 months. He was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment in a special security penal colony.

Relatives of Mikalai received confirmation that he is still in the Hlybokaje colony No. 13, where he is placed to PKT and solitary confinement in turns. He was deprived of the right to make calls and get the only care package and meeting per year. Over the past year, his family has not received a single message from Mikalai.

The wife of the political prisoner Maryna Adamovich was detained on January 23 during a crackdown on relatives of political prisoners. She was convicted of "petty hooliganism" and sentenced to 15 days of arrest. She was released the other day.

Political prisoner Ryhor Hunko may be transferred to a prison security level


Ryhor is a defendant in the Pinsk case, initiated after a protest action on August 10, 2020 in Pinsk. He was charged under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in mass riots). On April 30, 2021, the Court of the Maskoŭski District of Brest sentenced Hunko to 6 years in a medium security colony. The political prisoner is currently serving time in Viciebsk colony No. 3.

It has now become known that on February 12, a trial was held in Viciebsk to replace Ryhor's security level. According to the decision of judge Mikhail Zubenia, the political prisoner can be transferred to a prison.

The political prisoner has been detained for three and a half years.

The security level for political prisoner Pavel Sava might be increased


The 49-year-old political prisoner was detained on December 1, 2020 in the Autukhovich case. He was charged under two articles of the Criminal Code: Part 2 of Article 285 (participation in a criminal organization) and Part 3 of Article 289 (an act of terrorism committed by a group of persons). He refused to testify at the trial, so the testimony that Sava gave during the investigation were read out.

In October 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court sentenced Pavel to 20 years in a medium security penal colony and a fine of 22,400 rubles (6,355 euros).

The political prisoner was sent to serve his term in Orša colony No. 8. But on February 12, the court considered the case on "changing the security level and transferring Pavel to another correctional institution." Presumably, he will be transfered to a prison security level. The court's decision is still being clarified.

The Supreme Court will soon hear an appeal in the case of political prisoner Aliaksandr Kulikou 

Аляксандр Кулікоў

In December, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court considered the case of a Mahilioŭ resident who was detained in June after returning from Poland. Despite the agreement with the security forces, the man was immediately detained in a criminal case.

Two months later, he was convicted for comments in "extremist" chats. And a few months later, Aliaksandr was tried for trying to join Kalinoŭski Regiment in Ukraine, as well as for "undergoing training to participate in extremist activities." In December, Aliaksandr was finally sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

On February 16, the Supreme Court will hear Kulikou's appeal. The decision will be made by a judicial panel chaired by judge Siarhei Hurau.

Political prisoner Vadzim Tsiahelnik was convicted of "malicious disobedience to the administration of the colony" 

Вадзім Цагельнік. Фота з сацыяльных сетак.

In November 2021, the political prisoner was sentenced to three years in a colony for insulting a government official (Article 369 of the Criminal Code) and participating in Marches in 2020 (Article 342 of the Criminal Code).

According to the prosecution, postman Vadzim Tsiahelnik, using the Internet, "carried out destructive activities aimed at destabilizing the situation in society: he called for mass riots that led to disruption of public transport."

The man is serving time in the Babrujsk colony No. 2. It became known that a criminal case was initiated against Tsiahelnik under Article 411 of the Criminal Code. His trial began in Babrujsk on February 2. The result is still unknown to human rights defenders.

Political prisoner Andrzej Poczobut is repeatedly placed in SHIZO 

Андрэй Пачобут у судзе.

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).

For more than eight months in the Navapolack colony, Poczobut was not allowed a single visit, phone call to his family, and care package. He has been kept in PKT for several months and occasionally transferred to SHIZO.

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