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What happened to political prisoners from February 20 to March 12

2024 2024-03-12T13:51:06+0300 2024-03-12T13:51:06+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

For over three years and a half, 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.

33 people were recognized as political prisoners over the past weeks. At the moment, there are 1,408 people on the list of political prisoners. In addition, human rights activists learned that 42 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released, including Pavel Piaskou, Pavel Nazdra, Andrei Runtso, Aliaksandr Rusetski, Dzmitry Rybak, Kiryl Zhohaleu, Ihar Faleichyk, Yauhen Zialkouski, Maksim Siarheyenka, Uladzimir Harbavets.

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

Political prisoner Ryhor Kastusiou has health problems 

Рыгор Кастусёў на судзе 29 ліпеня

This was announced on Facebook by the son-in-law of the chairman of the BPF Party Dzmitry Antonchyk.

"Ryhor Kastusiou is in the Hrodna prison. According to the latest information, he is the only person in the cell. He is complaining about his health. He says that the last two months have been very difficult. The long transfer to Hrodna also affected his health..."

Recall that Kastusiou was sentenced to 10 years in a penal colony. There, Ryhor's health problems worsened: he was diagnosed with cancer.

Political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich did not get a care package and a medical parcel sent to him

Мікалай Статкевіч. Фота: Уладзь Грыдзін

Statkevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in a penal colony, has been behind bars for almost four years. But there has been no information from the political prisoner for 396 days. Relatives of Mikalai received confirmation that he is placed in a punishment cell (PKT) and solitary confinement in turns.

The wife of the political prisoner Maryna Adamovich was detained on January 23 during the KGB crackdown. She was convicted of "petty hooliganism" and sentenced to 15 days of arrest.

After her release, the woman wrote on her Facebook page that a care package and a medical parcel had once again been returned from the colony.

Political prisoner Aliaksandr Ziyazetdzinau is tried for the second time for donations

Аляксандр Зіязэтдзінаў у калоніі. Скрыншот з фільма АТН

Aliaksandr was already sentenced to three years in a penal colony in the fall of 2022 for transferring cryptocurrencies to BYPOL six months before the organization was recognized as an "extremist formation." The man was found guilty under Part 1 of Article 361-2 (financing of extremist activities). He was sent to serve his term in the Škloŭ penal colony № 17.

Now it has become known that on February 29, Aliaksandr will be tried again in the Minsk City Court. He is charged under Part 1 of Article 361-2 (financing of extremist activities) and Part 2 of Article 290-1 (financing of terrorist activities). Now the man faces up to 15 years of imprisonment. The case will be considered by judge Alena Shylko.

Political prisoner Volha Mayorava was convicted of "disobeying the administration of the colony"

Вольга Маёрава. Фота з

On October 17, 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court announced the verdict of 12 defendants in the Autukhovich case. Volha was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony.

She was found guilty under five articles of the Criminal Code. She pleaded not guilty at the trial. In custody, she was repeatedly placed in a punishment cell and removed from court sessions. In one of the letters, she said that she might have diabetes.

In the Court of the Čyhunačny District of Homieĺ, on March 5, Volha was tried under Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the lawful demands of the colony administration). The case was considered by judge Hanna Sakalova. The result of the trial is still unknown to human rights defenders.

Political prisoner Vadzim Hulevich was held in a solitary confinement cell (SHIZO) for two and a half months 

Вадзім Гулевіч

Vadzim is a defendant in the case of Civil Self-Defense Units of Belarus, which was recognized as a terrorist organization in Belarus. The political prisoner was found guilty under five criminal articles and sentenced to 18 years in a medium security penal colony, as well as a fine of 19,200 rubles (5,380 euros).

Since March 2023, Hulevich has been serving time in penal colony No. 3. It became known that from November 10 to the end of January he was held in solitary confinement. The reasons for the penalties are unknown.

There have been no letters from political prisoner Alena Lazarchyk for two months now 

Алена Лазарчык

According to human rights activists, previously, for "violations of the established order", the political prisoner was deprived of parcels and care packages, meetings with relatives, and was repeatedly put into a punishment cell. It should be noted that correspondence is prohibited for prisoners during their stay in SHIZO.

It is known that letters have not been received from Alena for two months. This may indicate that she was sent back to SHIZO.

Recall that the activist of the European Belarus was sentenced to 8 years in a penal colony under four articles of the Criminal Code. In the colony, the woman had problems with her teeth and lost weight. Alena has a small child, whose father died while the woman was in custody.

Activist Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk was placed in SHIZO in February 

The husband of the political prisoner, Andrei, told the correspondent of Mediazona about the pressure on Palina:

"In late January or early February, she was put into SHIZO. In early March, Palina disappeared from her squad again but where she is exactly is unknown."

Palina is a public activist from Brest, who was detained on January 3, 2021. The woman was initially convicted under a number of articles of the Criminal Code. Later, she was twice convicted of "malicious disobedience to the administration of the colony" for a total of two years of imprisonment. 

Political prisoner Stsiapan Latypau fell ill with scurvy in prison 

Сцяпан Латыпаў 12 жніўня на акцыі салідарнасці калі Камароўскага рынку ў Мінску

Scurvy is a disease associated with vitamin C deficiency. In the absence of the vitamin, it can develop in four weeks, with a deficiency, in four months. Against the background of a decreased immunity, it is characterized by vascular fragility, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and pain in the extremities.

Recall that in 2021 Latypau was sentenced to eight and a half years in a medium security penal colony and fined 12,000 roubles (3,362 euros). Later, his punishment became stricter and he was transferred to a prison security level in Mahilioŭ.

Political prisoner Ivan Zianko is going to be transferred to a prison security level

Ivan has been imprisoned for three and a half years. During this time, he has already been convicted four times under a number of articles, one of which is Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the administration of a correctional institution). In total, he was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment.

It is known that he was often placed in SHIZO and transferred to a punishment cell (PKT). About three months ago, he was sent to serve his time in Orša colony No. 8. Now it has become known that a trial will be held in Orša on March 12 to replace Ivan's security level. According to the decision of judge Dzmitry Razumovich, the political prisoner may be transferred to a prison security level.

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