Belarus : preventative supervision of activists – one wrong step can bring you back to jail

As the convictions of 24 political prisoners pardoned by the Belarusian President since August 2011 have not been expunged, a number of procedural measures have followed them as individuals with a criminal record. All individuals released have been placed on watch lists, giving police officials the right to visit them. If they are brought in on administrative charges three times in one year, they face preventative supervision, which carries more serious restrictions.

Courts have placed three activists under preventative supervision for administrative violations connected with their social activism. Violation of this regime, which places significant restrictions on the freedom of the activists, may entail repeated arrest and imprisonment. These activists are:

1) Pavel Vinahradau – Activist in the Zmena movement and placed under preventative supervision for a period of two years under a judgment issued by the Moscow District Court. This former political prisoner is prohibited from leaving Minsk without permission from the police. He must stay in his home from 8pm to 8am and is registered for a penal inspection at his place of residence four times a month. If he violates these conditions three times, he may be prosecuted for violating preventative supervision. Until recently, Vinahradau had only one violation; on 28 February 2013, he was condemned to 7 days of administrative detention for a second violation.

2) Uladzimir Yaromenak – Activist in the Young Front movement. On 15 March 2012, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk placed Yaromenak under preventative supervision for a period of one year, as part of which he must appear at internal affairs agencies when summoned and give explanations to any questions regarding carrying out the demands of preventative supervision. He must also inform internal affairs agencies of any changes in his places of work or residence; and leave the district (city) only with the permission of internal affairs agencies. In addition, authorized personnel may visit Yaromenak at any time of day. He may be criminally prosecuted for three violations of these terms. He currently has five violations and may end up behind bars at any time.

3) Vasil Parfiankou – Civil activist. On 5 January 2012, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk placed him under preventative supervision for a period of one year. As part of this supervision he must appear four times a month for registration at the internal affairs agency for his place of residence; not leave his apartment between the hours of 8pm and 6am, except for times when he is at his permanent job; and not leave the city for personal reasons without approval from the internal affairs agencies implementing his preventative supervision.
On 29 May 2012, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk sentenced Parfiankou to six months imprisonment under Article 421 of the Criminal Code (for violation of the terms of preventative supervision established by the court). He served his sentence at a facility in Baranovichi from 9 August 2012 to 9 February 2013. After his release, he was placed under preventative supervision for a period of seven months.

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