Political prisoners

At the start of April 2014, FIDH identified nine individuals as political prisoners in Belarus. In Belarusian prisons and penal colonies, these political prisoners suffer regular punishments that sharply exacerbate the already difficult conditions of their detention. International organisations, such as the European Union, have called upon Belarus to release all political prisoners and raised concerns about the violation of their rights. The freedom of 32 former political prisoners who were recently released, is also seriously restricted.

Please see the articles below on the situation of political prisoners in Belarus:

Former political prisoner Pavel Vinahradau to remain under police supervision

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On April 24, Pavel Vinahradau visited the police department of Minsk’s Maskouski district to check in on the last day of preventive supervision imposed on him for his civil activity. However, the staff told him that the period of restrictions might be extended.

On April 25, it has been reported that the preventive supervision period was extended by six months. The decision was enforced by the court of Maskouski district.

“And they made ​​it clear that I should either tomorrow leave for Berazino until June 3, or go to prison in Akrestsin Street. And I choose Berazino,” wrote the activist on his Facebook account.

Pavel Vinahradau is one of the first activists to be convicted in the December 2010 case. He was released early, but was immediately put on preventive supervision...

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Former political prisoner Dzmitry Dashkevich sentenced to 25 days of arrest

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Former political prisoner Dzmitry Dashkevich was detained last evening at the entrance to his apartment in Minsk. He was searched and then brought to the Pershamaiski district police department.

Today, his administrative case was heard by Judge Yury Harbatouski of the Pershamaiski District Court. Dzmitry Dashkevich was charged with two offences, violation of preventive restriction rules (Article 24.12) and resisting police orders (Article 23.4).

As a result, the former Young Front leader was sentenced to 25 days of administrative arrest.

In the last three days alone, Minsk police preventively detained four opposition activists: Maksim Viniarski, Illia Dabratvor, Aliaksandr Stsepanenka and Uladzimir Siarheyeu.

Human rights defenders believe that these unfounded detentions are linked to the...

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9 political prisoners in Belarus are in critical situation and freedom for 32 activists is restricted

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Evidence gathered by FIDH and its member organisation in Belarus, Human Rights Centre Viasna, clearly contradicts the statement made at a press conference on February 14, 2013 by the Belarusian Deputy Prosecutor, General Alyaksey Stuk, that the detention conditions of the 9 detainees currently identified by our organisations as political prisoners in Belarusian prisons and penal colonies are not different from the conditions of other prisoners.

The 9 detainees suffer regular punishments that sharply exacerbate the already difficult conditions of their detention by restricting their means of support and quality of food and medical assistance...

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Political prisoner Parfiankou placed to locked cell for half a year

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On 7 April Vasil Parfiankou has been placed in a locked-type confinement cell for 6 months, says an activist of the European Belarus civic campaign Julia Sciapanava.

“In a letter Vasil said that on 7 April he had been transferred to a locked-type confinement cell for half a year. Before that he got 10 penalties, and he had already spent 23 days in s penal cell. He was also deprived of the right for parcels and meetings for the whole time”, – she emphasized.

In a locked-type confinement cells they usually keep malicious violators of the prison regime.

We would remind that on 5 December 2013 Mink Piershamajski district court sentenced Parfiankou to 1 year in high security penal colony for “violating the regulations of preventive supervision”.

In 2011 Vasil Parfiankou was sentenced to...

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Human rights organization Libereco demand a special amnesty from Belarusian authorities on the occasion of Ice Hockey World Championship

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On the occasion of the Ice Hockey World Championship, which will take place in Belarus in May, human rights defenders and parliamentarians demand a special amnesty from Belarusian president Lukashenka for the release of all political prisoners and have launched an online petition that you can sign on www.lphr.org/petition.

Currently nine people are under arrest for political reasons in Belarus. Among them nobel peace prize nominee Ales Bialiatski, for whom Katrin Göring-Eckardt, chairwoman of Green Party Bundestag´s parliamentary group, has undertaken one prisoner´s godparenthood.

Since the December 2010 presidential elections, the then-candidate Mikalai Statkevich has been detained...

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Can political prisoners count on release under amnesty?

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On April 21, it became known that the parliament was expected to review a bill on amnesty in 2014. However, the national legal portal has not yet published the document. But the press service of President Lukashenka said that this year’s amnesty would not apply to persons who have committed grave crimes and did not fulfilled the conditions stipulated by the draft law for exemption from criminal liability and punishment.

Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich says that the previous laws on amnesty treated this as a violation of the correctional facility’s rules, and uncompensated debts to the state.

Can political prisoners count on an early release under the amnesty? Human rights defender says most of them were convicted of serious crimes, so Edu...

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Political prisoner Eduard Lobau has problems with mail correspondence

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Not all the letters come through from Eduard Lobau, who is serving imprisonment term in the penal colony number 22 in Ivatsevichy.

The Charter97 web-site learned about that from his mother Maryna Lobava : “Son phoned on Saturday, said that he was in good health and everything was good. We will not have a meet for long yet. I am planning on June, but I do not know whether it will happen – this is always in question. If it does take place, then it will be a long meeting”.

Political prisoner’s mother pointed out that in June his studies end and he will get a certificate of a electric and gas welder.

“I have no problems with communication with Eduard, but not all his letters reach other people for some reasons”, – Maryna Lobava added.

Eduard Lobau, Young Front movement activist, w...

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Aliaksandr Artsybashau and Pavel Vinahradau sentenced to large arrest terms

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The activists of “Zmena” (the youth wing of “Tell the Truth” political movement) were detained on March 13. Artsybashau drove to the office of the police inspection, where ex-political prisoner Vinahradau came for regular registration.

As stated to BelaPAN by Pavel’s wife Sviatlana Vinahradava, her husband was detained when coming out of the police inspection, and Aliaksandr was detained by officers of road police a little later. According to her, police officers hinted that the arrest was connected with the upcoming local elections. The detainees were kept at the detention center in Akrestsin Street at night.

March 14, Judge of the Maskouski District Court Tatsiana Motyl sentenced Mr. Vinahradau to 25 days of arrest under Articles 17...

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Film and debate on human rights in Belarus at Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva

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An international human rights film festival took place in Geneva on March 9, 2014. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) dedicated this festival to human rights defenders who symbolize the battle for human dignity and human rights throughout the world. For Belarus, this person is Ales Bialiatski, the imprisoned head of the Human Rights Center Viasna.

The documentary film Europe’s Last Dictator received a public showing as part of this festival. Before the film began, Mariangela Zappia, the EU ambassador to the UN in Geneva, and Sasha Koulaeva, head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk at FIDH, addressed the audience.

After the film, a debate was moderated by the journalist André Loersch...

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Supervision for former political prisoner Zmitser Dashkevich extended for 3 months

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Minsk’s Pershamaiski district court extended the preventive supervision for former political prisoner Zmitser Dashkevich. His 6-month supervision term was to expire on February 28, but the court ruled to extended it until May 28, Radio Svaboda reports.

Zmitser Dashkevich didn’t attend the hearing, because he was working.

Zmitser Dashkeivch was released from prison No. 1 in Hrodna on August 28, 2013, after three years of imprisonment. He was arrested on December 18, 2010, ahead of the latest presidential elections. He was convicted for “malicious hooliganism” and then for “persistent failure to obey orders of prison officers”. Zmitser Dashkeivch should remain under supervision for six months after the release. He cannot leave home from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

On November 6, Zmitser...

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