As of October 7 there were 97 prisoners of conscience in Belarus. Today Belarusian human rights activists have recognized another 20 people as political prisoners.
Belarusian human rights organizations issued a joint statement that was published by the human rights center Viasna. Human rights activists note that protesters in Belarus did not perform actions that fall under the article of the Criminal Code on mass disorders.
“We consider the persecution of Mikita Hancharou, Uladzimir Harokh, Maksim Zinevich, Mikhail Kalishuk, Antanina Kanavalava, Ivan Krasouski, Illya Mihno, Viktar Shura, Hanna Sunhurava, Tomaz Pipia, Timur Pipia, Rastsislau Stefanovich, Artsyom Kasakousky, Dzyanis Marusevich, Mark Salonnikau, Illya Palanyankin, Maryna Hlazava, Yauhen Kakhanousky, Alyaksandr Kisyaliou and Andrei Rasulau, who were charged under Article 293 of the Criminal Code (“Mass riots”) and under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“Group actions that grossly violate public order”) as politically motivated persecution in connection with the exercise of their freedom of peaceful assembly and expression of their views on the announced results of the presidential election in Belarus and recognize them as political prisoners,” reads the statement of human rights defenders.
Ongoing protests have continued in Belarus since August 9. The number of participants regularly exceeds 100 thousand at Sunday rallies. The authorities use violence and detention against protesters. According to estimates of human rights activists, since the beginning of elections in Belarus more than 14 thousand people have been detained, many of them were beaten, some were raped and at least 6 people died. More than 250 people have been detained on criminal charges.