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Seven more persons recognized as political prisoners in Belarus

2024 2024-03-28T16:34:20+0300 2024-03-31T19:33:02+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Joint statement by the Belarusian human rights community

28 March 2024

As representatives of the Belarusian human rights community, we reiterate that authorities use detention and imprisonment to suppress social and political activism, solidarity, dissent, and expressing an anti-war stance.

In 2021, criminal legislation underwent significant tightening and was supplemented with new offenses. These offenses are being used by the authorities for political repression exclusively.

The Interior Ministry and KGB label groups of citizens who are united by public or political interests, criticize the actions of the authorities and demand changes in the state government and its policies as extremist. Some media outlets are also recognized as extremist formations. This paves the way to arbitrary criminalization and imprisonment of participants and contributors thereof, which disproportionately restricts the right to association and freedom of expression.

Thus, Aleh Dzehtsiarenka was sentenced to eight years and six months' imprisonment in a penal colony for creating or participating in an extremist formation and financing terrorist activities under Articles 361-1 and 290-1 of the Criminal Code in a closed court session;

Aliaksandr Marchanka is remanded in custody under Article 361-1 on charges of participation in an extremist formation;

Natallia Hauron, Alena Totskaya, Alena Dzemianchuk, Alesia Siarheyenka, and Yuliya Krautsova were taken into custody under Article 361-2 of the Criminal Code for allegedly financing extremist activities. The detentions were part of a larger prosecution effort by the authorities against individuals supporting political prisoners and their families through the social project INeedHelpBy, which provides food aid.

We recognize these individuals as political prisoners under paragraph 3.1(a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of a Political Prisoner. We demand that the Belarusian authorities:

  • immediately release political prisoners Aleh Dzehtsiarenka, Aliaksandr Marchanka, Natallia Hauron, Alena Totskaya, Alena Dzemianchuk, Alesia Siarheyenka, and Yuliya Krautsova;

  • immediately release all political prisoners and put an end to the political repression of the country's citizens.

Viasna Human Rights Center;


Human Constanta;

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House;

Belarusian Helsinki Committee;

Belarusian Association of Journalists.

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