As of December 28, 2022, there are more than 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus. The Viasna Human Rights Center continues telling the stories of people who ended up in prison due to political persecution. Sometimes, several family members face persecution and are imprisoned at the same time. The following are the stories of 15 families of Belarusian political prisoners.
Yan and Ales Papkovich, brothers
Both brothers were detained on September 2, 2022, and severely beaten during their arrest. It is known that they were preparing to move to Poland. They were charged with participating in the 2020 protests.
Siarhei and Andrei Kliutchenia, brothers
Siarhei and Andrei were detained on November 16, 2021, after a search had been carried out at their home. In March 2022, they were sentenced to two years of imprisonment each.
Inha and Karyna Reidalf, sisters
Inha, 33, and Karyna, 23, were detained in October 2022. They were charged with participating in the post-election protests. Inha has a minor son.
Aliaksandr Lychauka and Sniazhana Inanets, husband and wife
Aliaksandr is a local historian and journalist from Minsk. Sniazhana is a Minsk-based journalist writing on the topics of local history and culture. The spouses were detained in October 2022 and charged with participating in protest marches and subscribing to “extremist” Telegram channels.
Andrei Asmalouski and Dziyana Charnushyna, common-law spouses
Dziyana and Andrei are members of the United Civic Party (UCP) of Belarus. Dziyana and Andrei were sentenced to two and three years of imprisonment, respectively, for participating in protest demonstrations. In 2019, Andrei ran for the Belarusian House of Representatives as a UCP representative. He has two sons. Dziyana has a minor child waiting for her at home.
Dzmitry and Alena Paulovich, husband and wife
Alena and Dzmitry were detained in July 2022. Security forces forced them to tear white and red wallpaper off the walls during the search of the couple’s apartment. Alena and Dzmitry were sentenced to 2 and 1.5 years of imprisonment, respectively. The spouses have two minor children, who are now in their grandmother’s care.
Dzmitry Luksha and Palina Palavinka, husband and wife
Dzmitry is a journalist who used to work for the state-run Belteleradiocompany and then served as a freelance correspondent for a Kazakh TV channel. He was detained after an apartment search in March 2022 and charged with discrediting Belarus in his videos. His wife was detained in June 2022. Dzmitry and Palina were sentenced to 4 and 2.5 years in a penal colony, respectively.
Sviatlana and Yana Khromava, mother and daughter
Sviatlana is a deputy principal of the Minsk Gymnasium No. 42. She and her daughter Yana were detained in April 2022. They were charged with participating in protest marches and sentenced to two years of imprisonment each.
Mark Salonikau and Danila Bandaruk, cousins
Mark and Danila both come from large families with many siblings. Upon graduation from a community college, Danila moved to Minsk to work as a construction worker. The cousins were detained in Minsk in August 2020. Danila and Mark were sentenced to 5 and 4.5 years in a medium-security penal colony, respectively.
Darya and Ihar Losik, wife and husband
Ihar Losik is a journalist and blogger from Baranavichy. He was detained after an apartment search in June 2020. Ihar was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum-security penal colony. His wife Darya was detained in April 2022 for giving an interview to the Belsat TV channel, recognized as being extremist in Belarus. The couple has a young daughter who is staying with her grandmother now.
Valeryia and Ina Hlinskaya, daughter and mother
Ina and Valeryia were employed at MTBank. They were detained in December 2021. They went to trial on charges of sharing the personal information of security officers with the Black Book of Belarus Telegram channel.
Andrei Aliaksandrau and Iryna Zlobina, husband and wife
Iryna used to run a small business making souvenirs. Andrei is a Belarusian journalist and media manager. They were detained in December 2021. Iryna and Andrei got married in the pre-trial detention center. Their trial lasted four months. Andrei and Iryna received 14 and 9 years of imprisonment, respectively.
Alena, Siarhei, and Anastasiya Kizim, parents and daughter
Anastasiya was detained in Minsk in September 2022. She and her father Siarhei went to the office of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, where he was detained as well. Alena was apprehended around the same time. The family went to trial at the end of December.
Dzianis Sharametsieu and Sviatlana Sharametsieva, husband and wife
Dzianis is a designer and photographer. Dzianis and Sviatlana were detained in June 2022 for participating in the 2020 protests. They were sentenced to 2 and 1.5 years of imprisonment, respectively.
Aleh Davydzenka and Natallia Aktsiabrskaya, husband and wife
Aleh Davydzenka is a DSc in Biology and the author of 300 scientific publications. Aleh and Natallia were detained in November 2022 for a photo taken during a protest demonstration in 2020. The couple’s trial started in late December 2022.