New charges brought against political prisoner Alyaksandr Aranovich

The political prisoner Alyaksandr Aranovich has been charged with another crime under paragraph 13, part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code “Preparation for participation in mass riots”, the mother of the political prisoner informed the human rights center Viasna.

Recently, the term of Aranovich’s detention on the first charge ended. He was charged under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (Organization of group actions that grossly violate public order). But now the political prisoner will remain in custody until at least February. Political prisoner Alyaksandr Aranovich has been behind bars for seven month already.

Similar charges were recently brought against political prisoners Ihar Losik and Mikalai Statkevich. After that, Losik announced the start of a hunger strike.

Solidarity action with Belarusians in Warsaw, Poland. August 10, 2020 Photo: Yana Prakopchyk /

In early December, Alyaksandr’s parents were summoned for interrogation to the Investigative Committee in Minsk on a new charge against their son — about preparation for participation in the riots. As the mother of the political prisoner said, the investigator asked her why Siarhey Tsikhanouski and Alyaksandr were dressed in similar clothes at the election picket in Hrodna: in a dark jacket and jeans. During interrogation, she was even shown a photograph of Aranovich and Tsikhanouski standing side by side at a picket in Hrodna on May 29. The investigator explained tothe mother that they were similarly dressed. They also asked her whether Tsikhanouski paid money to her son, whether Alyaksandr participated in the creation of the YouTube channel “Country for Life”, whether he received money from this. According to Halina Ivanauna, the investigator’s questions only surprised her.

The mother of the political prisoner said that her son does not admit guilt and from the very beginning has refused to testify, using the right not to testify against himself under Article 27 of the Constitution. The mother learns the news about her son only through his letters, since the lawyer had signed a nondisclosure paper. Alyaksandr writes that these criminal cases are the result of a violent imagination of investigators,” reports HRC Viasna.

The man was detained on May 29 in Hrodna during a picket to collect signatures in support of the nomination of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a presidential candidate. Then the head of the initiative group, blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski and at least 15 other citizens were detained by the police. Then seven participants, including Alyaksandr Aranovich, were charged under Article 342 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.