New charges brought against political prisoner Volha Zalatar. She is mother of five

On the back of Mondya’s court session held behind closed doors, there have been reports about slapping two more accusations against 38-year-old Minsk resident Volha Zalatar. The mother of five has been behind bars for almost 6 months.

Volha Zalatar.

On September 13, Minsk City Court considered a complaint against extending the detention of political prisoner Volha Zalatar. According to the updated information provided by human rights activists, Volha is charged not only under Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code; she is accused of ‘organisation of actions that grossly violate public order, and drilling such actions’ (Article 342) ‘complicity in the organisation of actions that violate public order’ (Articles 16, 342 of the Criminal Code).

Mother of five prosecuted for organizing protests

Volha Zalatar was detained on March 18 when she was taking her daughter to a music school. The law enforcers stopped her car and took her home to conduct a search. After the search Volha was first taken to the local police station, then she was placed in temporary detention, and the next day she was taken to detention centre Nr 1 in Minsk.

In early April, her defence lawyer Andrey Machalau said that after detention his client was tortured by officers of the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption (GUBAZiK/GUBOPiK).

“At first they beat her on the head with their hands, then started strangling her, threw her on the ground and started pressing her head with a boot to the floor. I personally saw bruises on her arms and neck and bruises on her buttocks,” the lawyer said.

Volha Zalatar was then accused under Part 1 Article 361 of the Criminal Code: (‘establishment of an extremist formation’). Volha did not admit her guilt. She believes that she was charged with an absurd crime. On April 2, the Belarusian human rights community recognised her as a political prisoner.

Mother of five tortured by police