At least 76 people convicted in “protest” criminal cases in July 2022

In July, the Viasna Human Rights Center observed a continuing tendency toward criminal prosecution of citizens on political grounds. Viasna human rights defenders are aware of at least 76 people convicted for political reasons. Out of those convicted, 79% are men and 21% are women.

Based on the information available to human rights defenders, 47% of all July sentences were under defamation articles. The human rights community has long insisted on excluding such articles from the Criminal Code. 32% of the sentences were passed for organizing or participating in “group actions grossly violating public order”. In two cases, criminal prosecution for defamation was terminated as statute-barred.

Human rights defenders found that in July judges continued to impose sentences of imprisonment and freedom restriction on those involved in “protest” criminal cases. Here are July sentences in numbers:

  • 50 people sentenced to a total of 162 years and 3 months of imprisonment;
  • 5 people sentenced to a total of 15 years of open prison;
  • 21 people sentenced to a total of 50 years and 6 months of home confinement with penal labor;
  • 10 people received fines totaling 29,440 Belarusian rubles (equivalent to $11,640 USD) as an additional punishment to imprisonment or freedom restriction.

In July, the courts handed down custodial sentences in 65.79% of the “protest” criminal cases known to human rights defenders; 6.58% of the sentences involved freedom restriction in open-type facilities. Defendants were sentenced to home confinement with penal labor in 27.63% of the cases.

Thus, in July 2022, various types of custodial and freedom-restricting sentences were handed down in 100% of the politically motivated cases, with zero acquittals rendered.

Back to top button