From 7 to 10 Years in a Penal Colony: “Viasna” Human Rights Defenders’ Sentences Were Announced

Judge Marina Zapasnik considered the guilt of human rights defenders in committing acts under Part 4 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code (“smuggling by an organized group”) and Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“financing of group actions that grossly violate public order”) to be adequately proven. She issued the following terms of imprisonment for human rights defenders:

Chairman of “Viasna”, Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski — 10 years in prison;

Deputy Chairman of “Viasna” and FIDH Vice President Valentin Stefanovich — 9 years in prison;

Coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” Vladimir Labkovich — 7 years in prison;

“Viasna” human rights defender Dmitry Solovyov — 8 years of imprisonment appointed in absentia.

All of them, except Ales Bialiatski, were also fined three thousand basic units (111 000 Belarusian rubles). “Viasna” chairman at the request of the prosecutor's office was fined five thousand basic units (185 thousand Belarusian rubles).

Probably, cadets of the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were brought to the courtroom for the verdict announcement, so that relatives and those wishing to come to the court session would not have the opportunity to attend the announcement of the verdict: cadets took almost all the seats. During the sentencing, the human rights defenders' hands were handcuffed behind their backs.

Judge Marina Zapasnik tried many well-known public figures and protesters, and State prosecutor Korol witnessed “political” trials where political prisoners cut their veins and bellies in the courtroom.
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