Belarus mulls introducing criminal responsibility for ‘dissemination of extremist views’

Attorney General Andrei Shved has told STV about the changes in criminal law that the authorities were preparing, BelTA reports.

According to Andrei Shved, the Prosecutor General’s Office suggests strengthening responsibility for extremist activity: amendments to the Criminal Code, the law “On Combating Extremism” and other legislation.

“As for strengthening criminal liability, we are talking about supplementing some articles of the Criminal Code with provisions to impose criminal responsibility not only on the organizer of extremist formations and their leader, but also on any participants, as well as persons who assist extremist formations, finance them and contribute to any other form of extremist activity,” he said.

Shved specified: the assistance means dissemination of extremist views and symbols among citizens, incitement of discord — any form of action aimed at destabilizing the public situation, disruption of public order and “other unlawful and negative consequences”.

“The introduction of this norm in the Criminal Code will not only have a very serious preventive nature, but will also allow us, among other things, to suppress facts related to the financing of extremist activity,” said the prosecutor general.

Andrei Shved announced the increase of repressive measures in early January 2021. The decision to toughen liability for extremism and disorderly conduct was taken by order of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.