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At least 28 political prisoners released in May having served their sentences

2024 2024-06-03T16:39:58+0300 2024-06-03T16:39:58+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

At the moment, there are 1,395 political prisoners in Belarus, and their number is increasing almost weekly. At the same time, every month several dozen political prisoners leave their places of detention either after the expiration of the term, or after the trial before being sent to an open-type correctional institution or at the beginning of their home confinement. According to Viasna, at least 28 people were released in May, who have fully served their sentences. Another political prisoner was sentenced to home confinement and released from a pre-trial detention centre. Viasna recounts their cases and terms in the monthly digest. 

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 is already out of prison, please inform human rights defenders via Telegram: @Viasnainfo.

Political prisoner Uladzimir Malakhouski — 3 years, 3 months, and 12 days of imprisonment

57-year-old Uladzimir, a resident of Viciebsk, a member of the BPF Party, took part in election observation. The political prisoner suffers from cancer and has a group 3 disability. 

According to the charges under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (violence against police), Malakhouski, during detention at a protest, tried to hit policemen, damaged their uniform, and later, in a detention truck, sprayed tear gas at the policemen. The court sentenced the political prisoner to three and a half years in a penal colony.

Political prisoner Andrei Shulgat — 2 years, 7 months, and 14 days of imprisonment 

Andrei was detained on September 29, 2021 in a criminal case initiated for comments on the Internet after the deaths of KGB officer Dzmitry Fedasiuk and IT specialist Andrei Zeltser. He was charged under Article 369 of the Criminal Code (insulting a representative of the authorities) and Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code (inciting social hatred). The hearing of Andrei's case took place on October 5, 2022 in the Viciebsk Regional Court. He was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. In early May, the political prisoner was released from Mahilioŭ colony No. 15.

Political prisoner Yauhen Merunka — almost 2 years of imprisonment 

Yauhen was detained on December 8, 2021. He was accused under Article 368 of the Criminal Code (insulting Lukashenka). On March 1, 2022, the Court of the Navabelitski District of Homieĺ sentenced Yauhen to two years of restriction of freedom with a referral to an open-type correctional institution.

Since June 5, 2022, Yauhen has been serving time in open-type correctional facility-55, and was released at the end of May.

Brest resident Dzmitry Hapaniuk — more than 1 year and four months of imprisonment

Dzmitry was detained on January 9, 2023, as part of a criminal case under Article 342 of the Criminal Code, initiated in Brest in relation to the events of September 13, 2020, when during a protest rally people danced on the roadway (the so-called Round Dance case). He was sentenced to 1.5 years in a penal colony.

Dzmitry served time in Škloŭ colony No. 17.

Political prisoner Alesia Bunevich — 2 years and 29 days of imprisonment

Алеся Буневіч

Alesia was detained in April 2022, when she returned from Lithuania to Belarus. Bunevich was accused of helping the "rail guerillas" leave Belarus.

At first, she was accused of "committing a terrorist act by a group of persons by prior agreement," but later the case was categorized as "intentional illegal border crossing by an organized group" (Part 3 of Article 371 of the Criminal Code). It is known that she did not admit her guilt.

On November 17, 2022, she was sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony. But after her appeal the sentence was reduced by a year.

Political prisoner Valiantsin Muzikin — 2 years, 7 months, and 2 days of imprisonment

54-year-old Valiantsin was charged under Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code "inciting other social hatred", as well as under Article 369 of the Criminal Code "Insulting a representative of the authorities". The trial was held behind closed doors. In August 2022, the judge of the Homieĺ Regional Court Ivan Kotau sentenced the political prisoner to 2 years of imprisonment. Valiantsin served his term in the Babrujsk colony No. 2.

Brest residents Daniil Khabavets and Mark Antonau — more than 3 years of imprisonment

They were accused of participating in a protest in Brest on August 10, 2020 under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (mass riots). On November 8, 2021, in the Leninski District Court of Brest, Daniil was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in a medium security penal colony, and Mark was sentenced to 4 years.

One political prisoner was released after the trial 

In May, the courts in Belarus overwhelmingly sentenced political prisoners to imprisonment. Only one political prisoner was released from jail last month after the trial: Andrei Anpilohau, who was sentenced to two and a half years of home confinement.

But these data may be incomplete, since not all the results of the trials of political prisoners are yet known to human rights defenders.

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