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The pressure continues: what happened to political prisoners between March 27 and April 11

2024 2024-04-12T11:08:25+0300 2024-04-12T11:08:25+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.

20 people were recognized as political prisoners over the past weeks. At the moment, there are 1,377 people on the list of political prisoners. In addition, human rights activists learned that 36 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released, including Uladzimir Rubasheuski, Yury Kuzmich, Mikhail Kalishuk, Siarhei Karpenia, Siarhei Salokha, Yahor Prakapchuk, Vital Prakapchuk, Eduard Kudyniuk, Dzmitry Tur, Aliaksandr Viniarski, Vadzim Hurman, Yury Chubanau, Krystsina Charankova, Raman Sidziuk, and Kiryl Kanapatski.

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

Viasna human rights defender Ales Bialiatski's health is deteriorating

Алесь Бяляцкі, 3 сакавіка 2023 года

The 61-year-old political prisoner, the head of the human rights center Viasna and Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski has been held behind bars for 1,000 days. Natallia Pinchuk, the wife of the political prisoner, told the Associated Press that Bialiatski had been in solitary confinement for the last six months, despite his chronic illnesses.

"I learned from people who got out of prison that Ales' condition continues to deteriorate and he is not receiving some of the medicines he needs," Natallia Pinchuk said.

She also called on the UN to "act more actively" to help Bialiatski and other political prisoners in Belarus.

Political prisoner Aliaksandr Tsialeha might be transferred to a prison security level 

Аляксандра Цялега

Yesterday, on April 3, a trial was held in Ivacevičy to replace Aliaksandr's security level, following which the political prisoner may be transferred to prison. The trial was presided over by judge Siarhei Kukhatskavalets, but its result is still unknown.

Recall that in the Leninski District Court of Hrodna on January 21, 2022, Aliaksandr was sentenced to four years in a security level for comments on the Internet. It became known at the trial that one of the victims in the case had beaten Tsialeha during his arrest. On November 1, 2022, a new trial began over the political prisoner in the Pukhavičy District Court again for comments. As a result, the court sentenced him to one year of imprisonment, but a more severe punishment was absorbed by a less severe one, and the term was left the same.

Political prisoner Aliaksandra Kasko was transferred to a colony

Аляксандра Каско

On December 19, 2023, the Hrodna Regional Court sentenced the 30-year-old political prisoner to 10 years in a penal colony. She was detained on her return from Poland in early February of this year.

Aliaksandra was charged under eight articles of the Criminal Code, for "participating in extremist formation" and "facilitating extremist activities" among other things. The verdict was handed down by Dzmitryi Bubenchyk. Even before the trial, on September 12, the KGB added Aliaksandra to the "list of terrorists". She was also added to the "list of extremists". On March 21, the Supreme Court considered the appeal of the political prisoner.

It has now become known that Aliaksandra has begun serving time in Homieĺ colony No. 4.

Political prisoner Aliaksandr Kapshula might be transferred to a prison security level 

Аляксандр Капшуль. Фота:

Aliaksandr is a former legal adviser to the Polimir plant of OJSC Naftan. He has a wife and two minor children.

The political prisoner was detained on September 25, 2021, in the territory of the Russian Federation and handed over to the KGB of Belarus. Last year, the verdict was passed in Homeĺ on the case of the Workers' Movement. Aliaksandr Kapshul was convicted of "illegal acts with respect to firearms" (Part 2 of Article 295 of the Criminal Code), "high treason" (Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code), and "creation of an extremist group and participation in it" (Part 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.

On April 10, a trial was held in Babrujsk to replace the security level for the political prisoner. According to the decision of judge Pavel Kartsinin, Aliaksandr may be transferred to prison.

Political prisoner Uladzimir Hundar was deprived of care packages. He has been held in solitary confinement for six months

Уладзімір Гундар

According to Radio Racyja, the political prisoner was deprived of care packages for a year:

"Since March 1, he has been deprived of care packages again. Although he's been in solitary confinement for six months now. He is very quiet. So he does not know why himself. Maybe they do it according to some plan."

Recall that the defendant in the Autukhovich case was sentenced to a total of 20 years in a penal colony in several criminal cases. Upon arrival at the colony, he was placed in a punishment cell several times. In early October 2023, it became known that Hundar's punishment had been increased and he was transferred to a prison security level.

Political prisoner Ryhor Kastusiou underwent surgery


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

"Ryhor Kastusiou underwent surgery: a catheter was removed from his bladder... and immediately he was sent from the operating table to his cell..."

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

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