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The pressure continues: what happened to political prisoners between March 12 and 27

2024 2024-04-01T14:21:01+0300 2024-04-01T14:21:02+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.

19 people were recognized as political prisoners over the past weeks. At the moment, there are 1,401 people on the list of political prisoners. In addition, human rights activists learned that 17 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released: Anton Koshchanka, Aliaksandr Tsimafeyeu, Maksim Zinevich, Aliaksei Hrytskevich, Dzmitryi Shchurko, Valeryi Bohdan, Andrei Khalupka, Maryna Dubrouskaya, Mikhail Bashkatau, Ihar Sviryd, Mikalai Karobka, Kanstantsin Paliak, Uladzislau Adamushka, Dzmitry Sonchyk, Siarhei Korsak, Anastasiya Butkevich, Dzianis Sasunkevich.

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

Activist Andrei Kudzik was detained in a new criminal case. He was again recognized as a political prisoner 

Андрэй Кудзік. Фота з Facebook

Andrei was repeatedly persecuted for picketing and expressing his civic position during 2020 and 2021: detained, fined, arrested. In February 2022, Andrei was sentenced to two years in a penal colony under Article 342 of the Criminal Code. At the trial, the activist pleaded not guilty and refused to testify. On July 18, 2023, the political prisoner was released after fully serving his sentence.

Last October, he was sentenced to 15 days of arrest for congratulating Ukraine on Independence Day in TikTok. On February 15 of this year, the activist was arrested again for 15 days. But he was not released after serving the term; he was detained as part of a criminal case under Part 1 of Article 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities). 

Political prisoner Anatol Latushka may be transferred to a prison security level 

Анатоль Латушка

Anatol Latushka is a cousin of politician Pavel Latushka. On September 20, 2022, in the court of the Central District of Minsk, Anatol was sentenced to 6 years in a penal colony; Liliya Ananian, to five years of home confinement; Alena Malinouskaya, four years in a penal colony. They were detained on January 31 for stenciling the Chase coat of arms on mailboxes and placed in custody.

After Latushka's arrest, it was known that he had been beaten. During the trial, which was held in open session, details of the use of physical force against him in the Central Police Department were announced. Anatol's wife was also convicted three weeks after her husband. Alena was sentenced to two and a half years of home confinement.

It became known that on March 22, a trial will be held in Škloŭ to replace the political prisoner's security level with a prison one. The decision will be made by judge Aliaksandr Tarakanau.

The next trial of political prisoner Dzmitry Rezanovich has begun

At the initiative of the administration of Ivacevičy colony No. 22, a criminal case was opened against Dzmitry under Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the colony administration). On March 26, the trial of the political prisoner begins in Ivacevičy. The case will be considered by judge Siarhei Kuhatskavalets. It became known that in March Dzmitry was placed in solitary confinement for 10 days.

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 trial of Volha Britsikava, the former chairman of the Independent Trade Union Naftan, continues 

The Viciebsk Regional Court began to try the political prisoner behind closed doors on March 11. The activist is accused of inciting social hatred or hostility under Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code. The case is considered by judge Halina Bondal.

Recall that Volha worked at the Naftan enterprise for 16 years, but was fired because of expressing her position. The political prisoner was detained many times for speaking out against the war and distributing "extremist" materials. During 2022, she spent 105 days in custody, 75 of them in a row.

Eduard Babaryka is being held in PKT to be subsequently transferred to a prison security level

Эдуард Бабарыка на на агалошванні прысуду 5 ліпеня 2023 года

Political prisoner Eduard Babaryka, who is serving time in correctional colony No. 2 in Babrujsk, is in PKT, Nasha Niva writes.

Viktar Babaryka's son was sent to the Babrujsk colony at the end of 2023 or the very beginning of 2024.

Recall that on July 5, the Minsk Regional Court handed down a verdict in the Babaryka case: 8 years in a medium security penal colony.

He was found guilty under Part 3 of Article 130 (inciting other social hatred), Paragraph 6 of Article 16 and Part 1 of Article 342 (aiding in organizing actions that grossly violate public order) and Part 2 of Article 243 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code. 

Political prisoner Aliaksandr Kulikou was sentenced to another year and a half of imprisonment

Аляксандр Кулікоў

The prosecutor protested the verdict of a political prisoner from Mahilioŭ, sentenced to four and a half years in a penal colony. According to the court's decision, one and a half years were added to the term.

The 53-year-old resident of Mahilioŭ was charged under three articles: "joining an extremist formation", "participating in an armed formation on the territory of a foreign state", "undergoing training to participate in extremist activities".

Aliaksandr was detained last June upon his return from Poland. The man went abroad because of political persecution, but later the security forces promised him that if he returned, he would not be imprisoned. But as a result, the political prisoner was detained at the border and placed in a pre-trial detention center.

Two months later, he was convicted for comments in "extremist" chats, and later a new case was opened against him.

In the Navapolack colony, prisoners suffer from scabies en masse

Папраўчая калонія № 3

According to human rights activists, scabies has been spreading in correctional colony No. 1 in recent weeks. But it is not known whether proper medical care is provided to prisoners and whether the necessary measures are being taken to stop the spread of the disease.

There are currently 101 political prisoners in the Navapolack colony.

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