Twelve more people recognized as political prisoners

Human rights defenders of Belarus have recognized 12 more people charged under Article 293 of the Criminal Code (riots) for participating in the August protests as political prisoners.

According to human rights activists, charges under Article 293 of the Criminal Code (riots) were brought against Syarhei Kapants, Dzianis Kireshchanka, Alyaksei Karatkou, Stanislau Mikhailau, Alena Maushuk, Aleh Mozhau, David Mastitski, Mikalai Saseu, Ihar Solovey and Yahor Suhoidz, Dzianis Chykaliou and Vyachaslau Shelyamet. Human rights defenders consider the persecution of these people to be politically motivated and connected with the exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression of their opinion regarding the announced election results.

Human rights activists state that the August protests in Belarus “were peaceful and did not pose a threat to either national or public security”. The demonstrators did not perform actions that can be qualified by Article 293 of the Criminal Code (“riots”).

“The protesters did not commit arson, pogroms, did not destroy property and did not put up armed resistance to law enforcement agencies. Certain cases of violent actions against police officers by demonstrators require separate legal qualifications, taking into account the context and circumstances of the use of violence, including in the context of self-defense against knowingly disproportionate actions of police officers,” the document says.

In total, as of September 17, Belarusian human rights activists have recognized 70 people as political prisoners.