Number of political prisoners in Belarus exceeds 660

Belarusian human rights activists have recognised another two persons as political prisoners. On September 9, the human rights community issued a statement regarding convicting of Andrey Krylou and Syarhei Kupreshyn.

Considering criminal case in court. Photo: АВ / Belsat

Mr Krylou was sentenced on 2 September 2021 to five years in a penal colony by Vaukavysk district court under Article 293-1 of the Criminal Code for calling to participate in ‘riots’ by posting a message in a Telegram chat. The defendant pleaded not guilty, giving arguments in favour of his innocence and the groundlessness of the accusation.

Mr Kupreshyn was sentenced on 1 September 2021 to three years in a penal colony by Pastavy district court under Article 368 and Article 293-2 for insulting officials and for storing gunpowder after losing a permit to own hunting weapons. The punishment under Article 293 was much stricter than those imposed by the courts in similar cases, human rights centre Viasna reports.

After evaluating the two cases of criminal prosecution, four human rights watchdogs concluded that each of them had a political motive for prosecution.

They called on the Belarusian authorities to review the measures and procedural decisions taken against Andrey Krylou and Syarhei Kupreshyn, respect their right to a fair trial; immediately release political prisoners; end criminal prosecution against them, stop political repression.

To date, there are 661 names on the list of political prisoners.

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