The number of political prisoners in Belarus has reached 649.
On August 25th, Belarusian human rights organizations recognized four more people as political prisoners:
Dzyanis Dzeikun was convicted on June 23, 2021, by the Homiel regional court under Article 130 of the Criminal Code (“Incitement of racial, national or social hatred”) for publishing comments on social networks criticizing the illegal, violent actions of Belarusian law enforcement officers. He was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in a penal colony.
Alyaksandr Nahela was convicted on August 25, 2021, by Hrodna Regional Court under Article 130 of the Criminal Code for publishing comments in social networks, criticizing the illegal, violent actions of law enforcement officers in Belarus and Russia, and was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in a penal colony.
Leanid Herasimlyuk was convicted by Hrodna regional court on August 17, 2021, under Part 3 Article 361 of the Criminal Code (“Appeals to actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus”) for comments on social networks criticizing the illegal, violent actions of law enforcement officers. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail.
On August 13, 2021, a Minsk court sentenced Alyaksei Maltsau to two years in jail for participation in a peaceful assembly under part 1 of article 342 of the Criminal Code. He was also sentenced in total to three years in a penal colony.
Human rights defenders report an increase in the number of court rulings in politically motivated criminal cases with violations of the basic procedural rights of the accused.
“The imposed criminal penalties in these cases go beyond those that are usually applied in the absence of a political motive and are excessively strict, not corresponding to the degree of public danger of the offense and the personality of the convicted.
Investigators and the court apply criminal responsibility for incitement of other social enmity or discord (Article 130 of the Criminal Code) in a selective and discriminatory manner solely to protect the institutions of power. The nomination of government officials, law enforcement officers, military personnel, etc., as social groups to be protected in this context, seems groundless to us,” reads the statement of human rights organizations.