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Ukrainian citizen accused of espionage and sentenced to 9 years in penal colony

2024 2024-03-18T14:13:51+0300 2024-03-18T14:13:51+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Supposedly on March 5, the Homeĺ Regional Court sentenced citizen of Ukraine and political prisoner Natallia Zakharanka and her friend Larysa Krupa in a closed session. Zakharanka was accused of espionage for Ukraine under Article 358 of the Criminal Code, and her friend was accused of misprision (Part 2 of Article 406 of the Criminal Code). The case was considered by judge Anatol Sotnikau.

This story was made public at the beginning of July last year, when a resident of Chernihiv, Natallia Zakharanka, disappeared on her way to Mazyr, where her sister lives. Before the beginning of the Russian aggression, entrepreneur Natallia often traveled to Homieĺ to trade on a local market.

The first one to notice that something was wrong was the woman's daughter: she could not reach her mother after the latter crossed the Polish-Belarusian border, and the official authorities were silent.

As reported by the Ukrainian media, Natallia was a volunteer: after the outbreak of the war she transported Ukrainian refugees to the EU and Belarus; transferred documents and medicines. It is also known that Zakharanka traveled to Belarus in her own car.

Zakharanka was detained on July 4, 2023 and held in custody pending trial.

Radio Liberty learned about the verdict from its sources. This information was also confirmed by Natallia's friends from Chernihiv.

The court decided to punish the Ukrainian woman with imprisonment for a period of 9 years, and also to confiscate Natallia's minibus.

Together with Natallia, her friend, Larysa Krupa, a Belarusian from Mazyr, was tried. For "failure to report a crime", she received a fine of 4 thousand Belarusian rubles (1,124 euros).

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