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At least 32 political prisoners were released in March having served their term

2024 2024-04-05T17:10:22+0300 2024-04-05T17:10:40+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Now in Belarus, 1388 people are recognized as political prisoners, and their number is increasing almost weekly. At the same time, some have already served their terms or are released from custody being sentenced to non-custodial punishments. According to Viasna, at least 32 people were released in March who had fully served their sentences. Eight more people were sentenced to home confinement and released from a pre-trial detention centre. What political prisoners served their sentences for and how many of them were held in places of captivity, Viasna recalls their cases. 

It should be noted that the number of political prisoners released after serving their sentence may be higher due to the lack of reliable information about their release. If you know that a person convicted for political reasons has been already released, please inform human rights defenders via Telegram: @Viasnainfo.

Political prisoner Dzmitry Shchurko — 2 years, 3 months, and 23 days of imprisonment

Дзмітрый Шчурко ў судзе.

Dzmitry was first convicted of "stealing a walkie-talkie" from a riot policeman during a protest action and sentenced to two years of restriction of freedom in an open-type correctional institution. But in January 2022, the political prisoner was convicted under three more articles of the Criminal Code for comments on the Internet. He was finally sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment.

The political prisoner served his term in Navapolack colony No. 1, where he was released from on March 6.

Political prisoner Mikhail Kalishuk — 3 years, 6 months, and 28 days of imprisonment

The man was detained and beaten by riot police on August 10 in Brest. On May 21, 2021, Mikhail was sentenced to four years in a penal colony for participating in a protest in Brest. 

Mikhail first served his sentence in Viciebsk colony No. 3. There, he was under pressure from the administration, and at the end of 2021, his punishment was increased and he was transferred to Mahilioŭ prison.

Political prisoner Andrei Runtso — 2 years, 8 months, and 4 days of imprisonment 

Andrei is a loader and father of two children. He also has a disability of the third group.

On December 14, 2021, the Court of Dziarzhynsk and the Dziarzhynsk District found Andrei guilty under Article 364 (violence or threat of violence against a police officer) and Article 389 (threat against a judge or a people's assessor) of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to three years in a general security colony.

Political prisoner Siarhei Karpenia — 2 years and 25 days of imprisonment 

In December 2021, a resident of Baranavičy was sentenced under Part 1 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code to two years of restriction of freedom in an open-type correctional institution. According to the investigation, on September 17, 2020, Siarhei "in order to harm the honor and dignity of the President of the Republic of Belarus" left a message with profanity on the Telegram channel Baranavičy-97%

At the end of March, the political prisoner was supposed to be released from Open-type correctional facility-39.

Political prisoner Uladzimir Rubasheuski — 3 years, 7 months, and 19 days of imprisonment 

Палітвязень Уладзімір Рубашэўскі. Скрыншот з сюжэта БТ

Uladzimir was detained in August 2020. It is known that he was severely beaten during his arrest. He was accused of participating in a protest action in Brest under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in mass riots).

In May 2021, Rubasheuski was sentenced to four years in a medium security penal colony.

He served time in Škloŭ colony No. 17.

Political prisoner Darya Afanasyeva — 2 years, 3 months, and 2 days of imprisonment

Daria is an activist, a femblogger known as "Daphne". On Instagram, the woman educated her audience about sexism and feminism. The court sentenced her to two and a half years of imprisonment for participating in post-election protests in August 2020 in Minsk.

On March 30, Darya was released from Homieĺ women's colony No. 4.

Political prisoner Yauhen Kalinouski — 3 years, 7 months, and 16 days of imprisonment

Яўген Каліноўскі. Фота прадастаўлена блізкімі хлопца

Yauhen is a former student of BSU. He was detained on July 27 as part of a criminal case initiated in relation to the events of July 14 in Minsk.

On January 16, 2021, judge of the Peršamajski District Court of Minsk, Maksim Trusevich, sentenced the man under Article 342 and Article 364 of the Criminal Code to four years of imprisonment. The court also decided to collect compensation from Yauhen Kalinouski for moral damage in favor of two injured riot police officers in the total amount of 2,500 rubles (707 euros).

The man was released from Mahilioŭ colony No. 15 in early March. 

Political prisoner Illia Turkou — 3 years, 8 months, and 1 day of imprisonment

The Minsk resident worked as a real estate specialist before his arrest. He was detained on July 27, 2020. He was found guilty of participating in protests on July 14 (Article 342 of the Criminal Code), as well as "violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies" (Article 364 of the Criminal Code).

He was sentenced to 4 years in a penal colony. Illia had served his term in Viciebsk colony No. 3, where he was released from on March 28, 2024. 

Eight political prisoners were released after the trial

In March, the courts in Belarus overwhelmingly sentenced political prisoners to imprisonment. Only eight people were released from pre-trial detention facilities after the trials being sentenced to home confinement. Among them are:

The number may be an underestimate, as human rights defenders do not yet have all the results of the trials of political prisoners.

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