Ninety-eight people convicted for protests in April

In April this year, human rights activists recognized 39 people as political prisoners. During the month, courts in Belarus passed at least 98 criminal convictions for protesting, according to the human rights center Viasna.

On May 1, human rights activists are aware of more than a thousand defendants in criminal cases prosecuted on political grounds. There are 360 political prisoners behind bars; 196 have been sentenced, while trials continue for 28 political prisoners.

Trial of volunteers from Viktar Babaryka’s headquarters: Ihar Yermolau, Mikalai Saseu, Uladzislau Karetski, and Dzmitry Kanapelka. April 15, 2021. Minsk, Belarus. Photo: AK / Belsat

In April alone, human rights activists recognized 39 people as political prisoners. Courts passed 98 guilty verdicts for protests during this month.

On March 5th, Ivan Naskevich, the then Head of the Investigative Committee, stated that investigators had instituted 2,407 extremist criminal cases in Belarus since August 9th, 2020. This number includes all “political” cases – from graffiti on buildings to the use of violence against law enforcement officers.

On April 15, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported that there are now more than 3 thousand “protest” criminal cases in the country. This list includes crimes related to the organization and holding of illegal mass events and protests, 750 cases of desecration of buildings and damage to property, about 600 cases of insulting representatives of the authorities, more than 300 cases of violence or threats of violence against police officers.