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At least 65 people tried for receiving "foreign aid" through INeedHelpBY

2024 2024-02-15T17:36:54+0300 2024-02-15T17:36:54+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

During a crackdown by security forces at the end of January, at least 257 people were persecuted; most of them are women. One of the reasons for the searches, interrogations, and detentions was the help to the families of political prisoners with food delivery from the INeedHelpBY initiative, which the authorities recognized as an "extremist formation". Since the beginning of February, people across Belarus have been tried en masse for "using foreign aid to carry out extremist activities" under Article 24.15 of the Administrative Code. According to human rights activists, at least 65 people have been prosecuted. According to the decisions of the courts, some have already received heavy fines and compensated for the amount of "foreign" aid. Viasna reports the results of the persecution of Belarusians for food deliveries to the families of political prisoners.

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) has not been used in Belarus before. Viasna human rights activist Pavel Sapelka noted that this is "arbitrary persecution of people who have not violated any legal rules."

Now, the new repressive practice is actively used against the families of political prisoners. According to human rights activists, over the past two weeks, at least 65 trials for receiving assistance will take place or have already taken place.

According to the Article 24.15 of the Administrative Code notes that people "received and used foreign gratuitous assistance in the form of goods purchased in the Evroopt online store through the foreign association INeedHelpBY for the purpose of other extremist activities expressed in the public deliberately unlawful legitimization of the actions of persons who committed offenses and crimes, including through giving them a pseudo-status of "political prisoners", illegally disregarding the consequences of bringing to justice, which created a threat of harm to state and public interests."

A fine imposed under this article can vary from 400 to 1200 roubles with confiscation of the aid.

For example, on February 9, the Barysaŭski District Court considered an administrative case against Aksana Khinevich, the mother of former political prisoner Anatol KhinevichJudge Sviatlana Baranava imposed a fine of 800 rubles on her, as well as compensation in the amount of 2,854 rubles and 45 kopecks.

Also on January 26, the Lida District Court fined two Lida women under this article. One of them received "foreign aid" in the form of goods worth 5,241 rubles from the Evroopt online store; the second, for a total amount of 18,143 rubles. Both women were fined 1,000 rubles each with compensation for the amount of assistance received. Their sentences were published on

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.

What should you do if you are convicted of "using foreign aid"?

According to the law, a person must pay a fine no later than one month after the entry into force of the court order. However, the amount of the aid will have to be paid almost immediately after the decision comes into force, otherwise, in a few days the case for the recovery of this amount will be transferred to the enforcement authority.

But everyone has the right to appeal the court's decision within ten days from the date of the decision. Appealing a decision to bring a person to administrative responsibility gives a chance to quash the decision, and also allows you to delay the time for paying a fine (for at least two months). In addition, it provides an opportunity to document the fact of political persecution.

"In practice, bailiffs can arrest accounts, debit money from the account and even seize property, while the aid to the convicted person under Article 24.15 of the Administrative Code must correspond to the amount of the confiscated funds; if these are several purchases in Evroopt, it will be disproportionate and too harsh to arrest real estate.

The appeal allows, at least, to extend the deadline for the transfer of the case to the bailiffs for at least a month. If you missed the deadline for appeal, you can request a renewal of the deadline for appeal by filing a corresponding petition to the court. The reasons for missing the deadline must be explained and, preferably, documented.

After the appeal, it is possible to request a delay or installment payment of the fine. This also requires documented reasons for not being able to pay the fine immediately and in full," Viasna's lawyers note.

To appeal against a fine, ask the court to provide to reasoning part of the case, and ask for help from the lawyers of Viasna: Telegram: @zvarot96 | Email:

To tell the details of the crackdown of the security forces in January, as well as about the conditions of detention in isolation cells to the journalists of Viasna: Telegram: @Viasnainfo | Email:

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