Viasna demands to stop political persecution of activist Pavel Vinahradau
Council of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Minsk – 3 June 2016. According to information received by the Human Rights Center "Viasna", on 7 June 2016 the court of Minsk’s Maskoŭski district is expected to decide on the establishment of so-called preventive supervision against political activist Pavel Vinahradau.
The possible restrictive measures stem from the three administrative convictions under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of organizing and participating in public events) imposed on the activist for the exercise of the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.
Earlier, Pavel Vinahradau was repeatedly brought to criminal and administrative responsibility for peacefully exercising his freedoms guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution and the international standards of human rights.
In particular, in 2008 the activist was sentenced to two years of so-called house arrest (restraint of liberty resulting in numerous restrictions) under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organization or active participation in group actions grossly violating public order). Amnesty International recognized all the persons involved in the case, including Pavel Vinahradau, prisoners of conscience.
On 19 December 2010, Pavel Vinahradau was arrested and eventually sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment under Part 2, Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (rioting) for participating in the post-election protest in Minsk. The activist was released in September 2011, after he was pardoned together with other political prisoners.
After his release, the activist was systematically subjected to arbitrary administrative detention and was finally forced to leave Minsk for his home town of Bierazino, Minsk region, due to harassment from law enforcement agencies ahead of the Minsk Ice Hockey World Championship in May 2014.
In this regard, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" views another attempt to establish restrictive measures against Pavel Vinahradau as a continuation of the practice of politically motivated persecution, which may result in yet another imprisonment of the opposition activist.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" urges the authorities to:
- immediately stop the proceedings aimed at establishing preventive supervision against Pavel Vinahradau;
- put an end to other forms of politically motivated harassment of Pavel Vinahradau and other citizens in connection with the exercise of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the international standards of human rights.