Talented student sentenced to 5 years in prison

Artsiom Bayarski, a 20-year-old political prisoner from Hrodna, was sentenced on 9 December to five years in a general regime colony on charges of leading an “extremist group.” The trial was closed, but it is known that he was charged because of managing two opposition Telegram channels.

Bayarski was a second-year student at the Department of Chemistry of the Belarusian State University and a four-time scholarship winner from the President’s Fund for the Support of Talented Youth. He dreamed of creating medicines for incurable diseases. In August 2020, he, like many other students, turned down his presidential scholarship. The first time he was detained a year ago after a protest march, for which he was sentenced to 15 days in prison. After he was released, he reported being insulted, threatened and beaten on the way to the police station. Because of his arrest, he was expelled from the university.

Then, he was arrested again in March 2021. To get a confessional video from him, police officers beat him with a truncheon. As in other similar cases, no criminal case against the offenders was opened after the beating.

In November 2021, 47 employees of the Russian Academy of Sciences issued an open letter in support of Artsiom Bayarski and demanded his release. In September 2021, he was admitted to the Bachelor’s program in Biotechnology at Kaunas Vytautas University. He will be able to continue his studies after his release.

Bayarski accepted the verdict with dignity: he managed to say that “Belarus will become a normal country anyway”.

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