Another 12 names on list: Over 830 political prisoners in Belarus
On October 26, the Belarusian human rights community issued a joint statement on their recognising another 12 persons as political prisoners, HRC Viasna reports.
The updated list has included:
Syarhei Prus and Dzmitry Bondarau, who were sentenced under Part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code to 5 years in a penal colony for creating and posting online a video calling for illegal actions against riot police officers of the Mahilioŭ regional department of internal affairs;
Dzmitry Sonchyk, who was sentenced under Art. 364 and Art. 369 of the Criminal Code to 5 years of imprisonment in a penal colony for insults and threats to police officers in comments in a Telegram channel in 2020 and 2021;
Andrey Razuvayeu , who was sentenced under Article 369 and 295 of the Criminal Code to 4 years in a penal colony for insulting a government official and keeping a small amount of hunting gunpowder;
Iryna Melkher, Anton Melkher, Halina Dzerbysh, Syarhei Razanovich, Lyubou Razanovich, Pavel Razanovich, who have been in custody on terrorism charges since early December 2020. According to the human rights defenders, they have not participated in any investigative actions, while the investigation is not formally completed, and the state propaganda resources back in 2020 claimed that the guilt and role of all those involved in the case was ‘established and proven’;
former investigator Yauhen Yushkevich. The circumstances of the new accusation of terrorism give grounds to believe that his detention may be arbitrary and related to his public activities, human rights activists stress;
Yauhen Buynitski, who was detained on charges under Part 3 of Art. 371 of the Criminal Code for organizing illegal border crossing by citizens fleeing arbitrary politically motivated persecution by the Belarusian authorities, which could have serious consequences for them – torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment and illegal imprisonment.
The actions of all these individuals were not related to the direct use of violence, the statement reads. The human rights defenders emphasize that in the above cases the actions of the accused were a consequence of the lack of freedom of expression; they were caused by the authorities’ failure to investigate crimes against peaceful protesters and other victims of ill-treatment and torture, together with disappointment in the government’s ability to stop lawlessness. Assessing these cases, eight human rights watchdogs conclude that there is a political motive for prosecution in each of them.
The Belarusian human rights community has called on the authorities to immediately release all political prisoners; review the measures and procedural decisions taken against the above mentioned persons, respect their right to a fair trial and eliminate the factors that influenced the decision to enforce pre-trial detention; stop political repression.
As of October 26, there are 833 political prisoners in Belarus.