persecutions from VIASNA

Le blogueur Raman Protasevich et sa petite amie Sofiya Sapieha ont été arrêtés à l'aéroport de Minsk mise à jour

Le 23 mai, le blogueur Raman Protasevich a été arrêté à l'aéroport national de Minsk. Il était sur un vol Ryanair d'Athènes à Vilnius, qui a effectué un atterrissage imprévu à Minsk. 
Il a été initialement signalé que la cause de l'atterrissage était un rapport d'un avion miné, mais cette information n'a pas encore été confirmée. La chaîne de télégrammes Pool One a rapporté qu'un chasseur MiG-29 "pour accompagner un avion de passagers" avait été soulevé dans le ciel sur les instructions de Loukachenka.
On sait qu'après l'enregistrement de l'avion à Minsk, les passagers ont été envoyés pour revérifier les documents et inspecter les articles. L'un des passagers a déclaré à "Delfi.lt :
  • «Il y avait beaucoup de rumeurs. Après une manœuvre soudaine de l'avion, un gars a commencé à paniquer, a attrapé sa tête. Ce n'est qu'alors que nous avons compris pourquoi. Il n'y a pas eu de conflit, il n'y a pas eu de scandales avant ces virages d'avion, personne ne s'est disputé avec qui que ce soit. Ce n'est que lorsque le gars a découvert que nous allions monter à bord qu'il s'est énervé. Nous avons tous les quatre été sortis, les chiens ont reniflé toutes nos affaires. Ce type a été mis de côté, ses affaires et secoué sur la piste. Nous lui avons demandé ce qui se passait. Il a dit qui il était et a ajouté: "Je serai exécuté ici." Il était déjà plus calme, mais tremblant. Un officier se tenait à côté de lui tout le temps, et bientôt les militaires l'ont juste fait sortir. "
Stepan Putilo de Nexta
Tard dans la soirée, on a appris que la petite amie de Raman, avec qui il volait en vacances, était également détenue. Il s'agit de Sofia Sapieha , étudiante à l'Université européenne des sciences humaines. 

À l' été 2020, Raman Protasevich était le rédacteur en chef de la chaîne de télégramme NEXTA et, avec le créateur de la chaîne Stepan Putilo, a été déclaré recherché et inclus dans la liste des personnes impliquées dans des activités terroristes au sens de Minsk. Après avoir quitté NEXTA, il est devenu le rédacteur en chef de la chaîne de télégramme Belarus Brain, précédemment administrée par le prisonnier politique Igor Losik. Les deux chaînes ont été déclarées extrémistes par les autorités biélorusses en 2021. Raman Protasevich a vécu à l'étranger, en Pologne.

Protasevich est pourssuivi en application de l'article 293 du Code pénal belarus ("Émeutes de masse"), de l'article 342 du même Code pénal ("Organisation et préparation d'actes qui violent gravement l'ordre public ou participation active à ceux-ci") et de l'article 130 du Code pénal ("Incitation à l'hostilité ou à l'hostilité raciale, nationale, religieuse ou sociale" au sens de Minsk).
Données Viasna 24/05/2021



Joint statement by Belarusian human rights organizations
Minsk – May 24, 2021

On May 23, blogger Raman Pratasevich was detained by Belarusian security forces at the Minsk National Airport, following the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger airliner.
According to available information, Pratasevich is facing charges under Part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (organization of mass riots), Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organization or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order) and Part 3 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code (incitement to social discord).
Based on this, the blogger was included in the national database of terrorists and put on an international wanted list. A request for his extradition was sent by the Belarusian authorities to the Polish government.
It is also known that Sofia Sapega, a student of the European Humanities University, was arbitrarily detained together with Raman Pratasevich.
In this regard, we, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations, note the following:
Blogger Raman Pratasevich is being persecuted by the Belarusian authorities against the backdrop of a profound human rights crisis, triggered by the launch of the presidential election last May and continuing to this day. The crisis is accompanied by unprecedented political repression against thousands of individuals from every social group. All of them are united by sharing dissenting views on the development of the country, demanding fair elections and human rights for all citizens of Belarus without exception.
Raman Pratasevich’s public activity is nothing but the peaceful exercise of the freedoms guaranteed by both the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and international human rights law, the freedom to seek and disseminate information and to express one's opinion, among others.
According to international standards of freedom of expression, no one may be subjected to any kind of restriction, including deprivation of their rights or penalties due to their own opinions or beliefs.
A person may be punished for expressing their opinion, in case it threatens national security, provided that the government can demonstrate:
a) that the expression of opinion is aimed at calls for violent action;
b) may lead to such acts of violence;
c) there is a direct and immediate link between these statements and the likelihood or occurrence of such violent acts.
As we have repeatedly noted, the spontaneous gatherings that began after the presidential election of August 8, 2020 were mostly peaceful and were not accompanied by actions that could be described as riots.
The accusation of Raman Pratasevich of inciting social discord against government officials, police officers and other officials is, in our opinion, nothing but persecution for criticizing the current government. Article 130 of the Criminal Code is intended primarily to protect vulnerable groups of society from inciting hatred, rather than government officials from criticism, however harsh it may be. We have repeatedly clarified that government officials are not a separate social group.
In addition, according to international standards on freedom of expression, it is inadmissible to punish for criticism or insult of a nation, state or its symbols, government, state institutions or state and public figures, unless such criticism or insults are aimed at inciting violence or can trigger such actions.
In this regard, we consider the persecution of Raman Pratasevich to be politically motivated, as it is related to the peaceful exercise of his opinion, and the detainee is therefore a political prisoner, in accordance with paragraph 3.1 (a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners.
We call on the Belarusian authorities to:
immediately release Raman Pratasevich and drop the criminal charges he is facing;
  • release arbitrarily detained Sofia Sapega;
  • release all political prisoners and end political repression in the country.
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
PEN Belarus
Legal Initiative
Center for Legal Transformation “Lawtrend”
Belarusian Association of Journalists
Human Constanta
FORB Initiative
Belarusian Documentation Center
Belarusian Helsinki Committee


15 new political prisoners in Belarus

Joint statement by Belarusian human rights organizations
Minsk – May 28, 2021
We, representatives of the human rights community of Belarus, note with concern the continuous repressions in connection with the protests against the falsification of the presidential election results and acts of torture and cruelty by law enforcement officers.
In particular, on May 18, the Lieninski District Court of Brest sentenced:
Yauhen Kombul under Part 1 of Art. 309, and Parts 1 and 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 5 years in a general-security penal colony;
Siarhei Silich under Part 1 of Art. 309 and Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 4 years in in a general-security penal colony;
Maksim Siliuk under Part 1 of Art. 309 and Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 2 years 6 months in a general-security penal colony;
Maksim Pytsel under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 3 years in a general-security penal colony;
Siarhei Krasouski under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 2 years in a general-security penal colony;
Volha Syravatka under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 2 years in a general-security penal colony;
Natallia Barynava under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 1 year in a general-security penal colony;
Alina Muratava under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 1 year in a general-security penal colony;
Uladzimir Katsiubka under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 1 year 6 months in a general-security penal colony;
Maryna Silionak under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code to 1 year and 6 months of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility; the convict will be considered a political prisoner after starting to serve her sentence.
Kombul, Muratava, Barynava, Krasouski, Syravatka, Katsiubka, Pytsel and Silionak were convicted for hanging in Brest an effigy with a sign reading “OMON” (“riot police”) in order to “protest against the results of the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus and the actions of law enforcement officers.”
Kombul, Silich and Pytsel were also convicted for placing on the road and setting fire to three car tires at night for the same purposes.
Silionak was also convicted for spray-painting a protest slogan on the fence of a local factory.
Silionak and Siliuk were additionally convicted for spray-painting a protest slogan on an outdoor concession stand.
We consider all these actions to be different forms of expression that fall under the protection of Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Imprisonment for these acts is a clearly disproportionate and therefore unacceptable restriction on the right, especially in the absence of conditions in Belarus for legal protests against violations of political and human rights.
In this regard, we, reaffirming our repeated demands to decriminalize defamation and inadmissibility of imprisonment for insulting officials, the state, government agencies and symbols (joint statement of December 22, 2020), consider the persecution and imprisonment of Alina Muratava , Natallia Barynava, Siarhei Krasouski, Volha Syravatka, Uladzimir Katsiubka, Maksim Pytsel and Maryna Silionak to be politically motivated in connection with the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, and the convicts are therefore political prisoners in accordance with paragraph 3.1 (a) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners.
Kombul, Syravatka and Silich were also convicted for breaking the glass in the premises of a police station. The damaged was estimated at 160 rubles. The qualification of these acts as hooliganism is incompatible with the purposes and motives of the accused established by the court; the symbolic nature and extent of the damage allows us to describe the actions of each of the convicts as generally non-violent.
Kombul, Silich and Siliuk were also convicted of installing a metal wire on the railways, as a result of which an electric train was delayed for 16 minutes. The alleged damage amounted to 270 rubles.
We note with concern that the criminal law is arbitrarily applied to imprison people who, for protest reasons, briefly suspended the operation of trains, without causing destruction and without endangering passengers and transport. The absence of such a danger has been repeatedly confirmed in court by prosecution witnesses. Cases of this category were analyzed by human rights lawyers.
In particular, on April 27, 2021, the Baranavičy District Court sentenced Siarhei Bohdan, Uladzimir Lankevich and Viktar Ivantsou to various terms of imprisonment. Bohdan and Lankevich were found guilty under Part 1 of Art. 14 (attempt) and Art. 309 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to three years in a general-security colony. Ivantsou was found guilty under Art. 309 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in a general-security penal colony.
On April 28, 2021, the Puchavičy District Court was sentenced Siarhei Rozum to two years in prison under Part 1 of Art. 309 of the Criminal Code.
On May 3, Siarhei Shabunia and Pavel Fedukevich were sentenced by the Maladziečna District Court to one year and nine months of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony under Art. 14 and Art. 309 of the Criminal Code.
In essence, the actions of all the above defendants in the criminal trials under Art. 309 of the Criminal Code contain signs of blocking transport communications (by creating obstacles or otherwise). However, qualifying them as a criminal offense requires the occurrence of certain consequences: causing damage on a large scale (Part 1 of Article 310 of the Criminal Code) or causing serious or less serious bodily injury (Part 2 of Article 310 of the Criminal Code), which are absent in the above cases. Therefore, they cannot qualify as criminal offenses.
It is important to note that the placing on the railway tracks of objects that can cause disruption of railway traffic is only an administrative offense.
Moreover, all the defendants under Art. 309 of the Criminal Code were unreasonably sentenced to the most severe type of punishment in the presence of alternatives.
Thus, without disputing the illegal nature of the actions committed, we firmly believe that the convicts were prosecuted on politically motivated grounds.
According to the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners, a political prisoner is also a person deprived of liberty if, for political reasons, he or she is persecuted for at least one of the following reasons:
b) the detention was based on falsification of evidence of the alleged offense, or imposed in the absence of the event or elements of the offence, or imposed in connection with an offense committed by another person;
c) the length of the detention or its conditions are clearly disproportionate (incommensurate) to the offense the person is suspected, accused or has been found guilty of.
In this regard, we consider the persecution and imprisonment of Yauhen Kombul, Siarhei Silich, Maksim Siliuk, Siarhei Bohdan, Uladzimir Lankevich, Viktar Ivantsou, Siarhei Rozum, Siarhei Shabunia and Pavel Fedukevich to be politically motivated. The convicts are therefore political prisoners in accordance with para. 3.2. (b, c) of the Guidelines on the Definition of Political Prisoners.
We, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations, call on the Belarusian authorities to:
immediately release political prisoners Alina Muratava, Natallia Barynava, Siarhei Krasouski, Volha Syravatka, Uladzimir Katsiubka and Maksim Pytsel and stop the criminal prosecution against them;
  • reconsider the detention and court rulings taken against Yauhen Kambul, Siarhei Silich, Maksim Siliuk, Siarhei Bahdan, Uladzimir Lankevich, Viktar Ivantsou, Siarhei Rozum, Siarhei Shabunia and Pavel Fedukevich, respecting their right to a fair trial; release them from custody and select other measures to ensure their appearance in court;
  • immediately release all political prisoners and end political repression in the country.
Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Center for Legal Transformation “Lawtrend”
Belarusian Documentation Center
Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Human Constanta
FORB Initiative
PEN Belarus
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Legal Initiative