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The pressure continues: what happened to political prisoners between April 12 and May 2

2024 2024-05-06T14:33:32+0300 2024-05-06T14:33:32+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.

36 people have been 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 47 political prisoners had served their sentences and were released, including Andrei Tarasavets, Maksim Imkhavik, Ivan Patsiaichuk, Aksana Zaretskaya, Leu Tsialipka, Raman Hvazdziolka, Andrei Dzmitryeu, Artur Smaliakou, Viachaslau Kastsiuchyk, and Dzianis Marusevich.

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

Political prisoner Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk was not allowed to see her lawyer again

Palina's husband Andrei Sharenda said on Facebook that on April 15, the lawyer once again tried to get to the political prisoner, but was refused. For four months now, the lawyer has not been allowed to meet with Palina, although she has long written a corresponding request for this.

Palina is a public activist from Brest, who was detained on January 3, 2021. The woman was initially convicted under a number of articles of the Criminal Code. Later, she was twice convicted of "malicious disobedience to the administration of the colony" for a total of two years of imprisonment. 

Political prisoner Vadzim Huseu was sentenced to an additional year of imprisonment

On January 22, a criminal case was considered in Vaŭkavysk against the political prisoner who was previously convicted of "insulting a representative of the authorities." This time he was charged under Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the demands of the colony administration).

Judge Mikalai Siarheika sentenced the political prisoner to an additional year in a penal colony, and taking into account the previously unserved punishment, sentenced him to imprisonment for a period of one year and three months.

It is known that for violating the "internal regulations", he received punishment nine times, including being placed in a solitary confinement cell (SHIZO) and a punishment cell (PKT). Vadzim was also recognized as a "malicious violator of the regulations" immediately upon arrival.

Political prisoner Viachaslau Lazarau fell ill with pneumonia in the colony. He was placed in SHIZO 

This was reported by human rights activist Pavel Levinau:

"Viachaslau was in the hospital. Now the disease has receded, and he feels better. His mood is cheerful. However, there is also worse news: it is likely that since April 11 he has been sent to SHIZO. We do not know why or for how long."

Recall that political prisoners and spouses Tatsiana Pytsko and Viachaslau Lazarau were sentenced to three and five and a half years of imprisonment, respectively.

As a result of the appeal, the Supreme Court sentenced Tatiana to the same term, but with a three-year suspension. Viachaslau's sentence was reduced by six months. He is currently serving time in penal colony No. 15.

Political prisoner Ihar Alinevich was recently placed in SHIZO 

Ігар Аліневіч

It is known that since the beginning of 2024, Ihar has been sent to SHIZO several times.

Ihar is an activist of the anarchist movement, who was detained while crossing the border of Belarus on the night of October 28–29, 2020. He was charged under a number of articles for arson of official cars, a traffic police building, the State Committee of Expertise in the Homieĺ region. As a result, Ihar was sentenced to 20 years in a medium security colony.

Later, his punishment became stricter, and he was transferred to a prison security level in Mahilioŭ.

An activist of the movement Mothers-328 is transferred from an open-type correctional facility to a penal colony 

Recall that in May 2022, Maryna Kisialevich was sentenced to four years of restriction of liberty and sent to an open-type correctional facility. She was tried for Vkontakte posts under two defamatory articles of the Criminal Code: Part 2 of Article 368 (insulting Lukashenka) and Part 2 of Article 367 (slandering Lukashenka). The woman served her term in Brest open-type correctional facility No. 1.

According to human rights activists, on April 12, 2024, a court hearing was held to make the punishment of the political prisoner stricter. As a result, Maryna's restriction of freedom was replaced by imprisonment in a penal colony for a period of 10 months.

Political prisoner Anatol Latushka was transferred to a prison security level in Hrodna 

Анатоль Латушка

On March 22, the Court of the Škloŭ District held a trial to replace the political prisoner's security level with a prison one. Judge Aliaksandr Tarakanau decided to transfer the political prisoner sentenced to six years in a penal colony to prison for a period of six months.

Anatol Latushka is a cousin of politician Pavel Latushka. On September 20, 2022, the Central District Court of Minsk, sentenced Anatol to six years in a penal colony; Alena Malinoгskaya, to four years in a penal colony; Liliya Ananian, to five years of home confinement.  

Political prisoner journalist Dzianis Ivashyn was deprived of care packages

His wife Volha wrote about it. She also noted that now, in order to send vitamins to a prison or colony, it is necessary to obtain special permission from the doctor of the medical part of the facility. Previously, this rule applied only to necessary medicines.

"The previous list of vitamins allowed for care packages has been changed. Now even vitamin C cannot be sent to a prisoner without a "recommendation from the doctor"," writes Volha Ivashyna.

Recall that in September 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court found Ivashyn guilty under Article 365 of the Criminal Code (interference in the activities of an internal affairs officer) and Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code (treason to the state) and sentenced him to 13 years and 1 month in a medium security penal colony. Last year, Dzianis' punishment became stricter, and he was transferred to a prison security level in Žodzina.

A famous Hlybokaje bodybuilder Aliaksandr Sharabaika will be tried again

Aliaksandr was detained on March 13, 2023. He was sentenced to 1.5 years in a penal colony for "insulting Lukashenka". The political prisoner has served his term in Ivacevičy colony No. 22

Now it has become known that the political prisoner will be tried again on May 7. Besides him, Andrei Stabulianets and Dzianis Tsabulski, who was convicted a year ago for participating in protest actions in Minsk, are also on trial in his case (Article 342 of the Criminal Code).

Depending on the role of each, they are accused under Article 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting Lukashenka), Article 369 of the Criminal Code (Insulting a representative of the government), and Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (participation in an extremist formation). The case will be handled in closed session in the Viciebsk Regional Court. The judge is Yauhen Burunou.

Political prisoner Kseniya Lutskina again suffered from pneumonia in the colony

Ксенія Луцкіна ў судзе

A former political prisoner wrote about this on social media. According to her, recently Kseniya, who has asthma, developed a severe allergy to her cellmate's pajamas with a strong smell of perfume. Because of this, she began to cough violently, suffocate, and could not sleep for several days. It is reported that the political prisoner fell ill with pneumonia and was placed in a medical unit for a while.

Recall that the former journalist of the Belteleradiocompany was sentenced to eight years in a penal colony. In imprisonment, she began to have severe health problems: she has a tumor growing in her brain. It is known that she refused to write a petition for clemency addressed to Lukashenka. A minor son is waiting for the journalist at home.

Artist Ivan Viarbitski will be tried again for "malicious disobedience to the administration of the colony" 

Іван Вярбіцкі. Фота:

Ivan is an artist from Halšany, and he has two higher educations. The political prisoner was found guilty under several criminal articles at once and sentenced to eight years and one month in a penal colony.

It is known that in the penal colony, the prisoner was put under pressure: for two months Ivan was kept in SHIZO and PKT. In September 2021, the political prisoner's punishment was increased and he was transferred to Mahilioŭ prison No. 4. In 2022, he was convicted under Part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the colony administration). Judge Tatsiana Kastsiuk handled the case. The result of the trial is still unknown.

On May 8, Ivan will be tried again in Barysaŭ under Part 2 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code. The case will be handled by judge Liudmila Zinkevich. Ivan may be sentenced to two more years of imprisonment.

The administration of the Babrujsk colony has initiated a new criminal case against Eduard Babaryka 

Эдуард Бабарыка на на агалошванні прысуду 5 ліпеня 2023 года

It became known from Belsat sources that the administration of the penal colony No. 2 in Babrujsk initiated a new criminal case against political prisoner Eduard Babaryka. This time he was accused of violating Article 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience to the requirements of the administration of a correctional facility).

It should be noted that the political prisoner's case is not yet on the court schedule.

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