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Digest of the released: at least 27 political prisoners were released in June, five of them were exchanged

2024 2024-07-02T18:06:50+0300 2024-07-02T18:06:50+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Now 1410 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 27 people were released in June, 19 of whom served their sentences in full, and five were released on exchange. Three more political prisoners were sentenced to home confinement and released from pre-trial detention centres. What political prisoners served their sentences for and how many of them were held in places of captivity, Viasna recalls their cases. 

Yury Sedzianeuski — 3 years and 2 days of imprisonment 

Юрый Седзянеўскі пасля вызвалення
Yury Sedzianeuski after his release

Yuri was sentenced to three years in an open-type correctional institution under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (violence against police officers) and under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order).

The case was initiated for the events in Hrodna on September 6, 2020. The case involved 11 injured employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Yury pleaded not guilty.

The political prisoner was serving his term in open-type correctional institution No. 17.

Siarhei Hun — 2 years and 26 days of imprisonment

Сяргей Гунь

According to Homieĺ Viasna, the political prisoner served his sentence in Viciebsk colony No. 3 in full and was released on June 29.

Siarhei is a former director of the KRONA event agency, and has a young son, Yemialyan. He was detained on June 3, 2022 at his dacha. In the temporary detention facility, Siarhei, protesting against his imprisonment, declared a dry hunger strike.

He was charged under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order). In March 2023, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court sentenced the political prisoner to imprisonment.

Yauhen Barouski — 3 years and 8 months of imprisonment

On April 2, 2021, the Minsk resident was sentenced to four years in a general security penal colony. He was found guilty under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (violence against police officers) and Article 342 of the Criminal Code (active participation in group actions grossly violating public order). 

The events for which the man was convicted took place after 5 p.m. on October 11, 2020. During the dispersal of the March of Honor near Puškinskaja metro station, he and three other defendants, as follows from the investigation materials, prevented the riot police from detaining a man, got into a fight with them, struck several blows to the heads and broke the windows in a police car. 

At the end of January 2022, human rights activists learned that Yauhen Barouski was placed in a punishment cell instead of getting necessary medical care. On June 15, 2024, Yauhen was released from Mahilioŭ colony No. 15, having fully served his sentence.

Dzmitry Yurtayeu — 1 year, 8 months, and 25 days of imprisonment

Дзмітрый Юртаеў

Dzmitry is a children's poet and novelist, the winner of the Writers for Children competition, and a Smart School teacher. He was detained on September 21, 2022 by GUBOPiK employees. The political prisoner was accused of insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka (Part 1 of Article 368 of the Criminal Code) and inciting other social hatred (Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code). In April 2023, Dzmitry was sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

According to human rights activists, he was released from Viciebsk colony No. 3 in the summer of 2024.

Andrei Ausiyevich — 3 years, 1 month, and 11 days of imprisonment 

Андрэй Аўсіевіч

In December 2021, the political prisoner was sentenced to three and a half years in a penal colony for comments on Telegram. He was accused of "insulting a representative of the authorities" (Article 369 of the Criminal Code) and of "inciting other social hatred" (Article 130 of the Criminal Code).

The man served his sentence in Mahilioŭ colony No. 15.

Yauhen Homanau — 3 years, 11 months, and 17 days of imprisonment 

Yauhen is a car mechanic from Minsk, who was accused of insulting a representative of the authorities of Article 369 of the Criminal Code. On November 30, 2021, the Court of the Kastryčnicki District of Hrodna sentenced him to the restriction of freedom for a period of two years and six months with a referral to an open-type correctional institution.

He served his sentence in correctional institution No. 49.25. On June 25, Yauhen was released after the end of his term. 

Five Ukrainian political prisoners were released on exchange

On the evening of June 28, there was sudden news about the release of five political prisoners from Belarusian penal colonies and a pre-trial detention facility. The Ukrainian authorities have secured the release of their citizens. Thus, Natallia Zakharanka, Pavlo Kupriyenko, Liudmila Hancharenka, Katsiaryna Brukhanava, as well as Mikalai Shvets, a person involved in the Mačuliščy attack case, were released. The terms of the exchange are not disclosed. It is noted that the Vatican took part in their release. The released political prisoners were brought to Ukraine on June 28.

Three political prisoners were released after the trial 

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

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

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