There are 358 political prisoners in Belarus now. More than 150 of them are between 16 and 31 years old. Clever, educated, with high positions and their own business, they went to the streets to express their attitude to the authorities – and were arrested. In honour of the International Day of Youth Solidarity, we will tell you about those young men and women, who appeared in jail, and what they are sentenced for.

On August 11, 21-year-old Vadim Gurman was detained. According to the investigation, on August 9, the guy actively participated in an unsanctioned mass event and did not obey the police officers, shouted slogans, arranged provocations and threatened the police with violence. However, at the trial, Vadim did not admit his guilt on the last point. Moreover, after his arrest, the forces sprayed gas in his eyes, threatened to rape him and demanded to take off his pants. On February 8, he got 3.5 years of imprisonment.[1]

On August 11, designer Dmitry Kubarev was severely detained. According to the prosecution, from August 9 to 12, he organized riots, urged people on the Internet and offline to take an active part in them. His apartment was searched, after which the police took away his mouthpiece, medicines, water, equipment, cans of solvent and turpentine to repair the apartment. Dmitry also said that on August 11, he helped the protesters, washed their eyes and wounds. The designer did not admit his guilt, but he got seven years imprisonment.[2]

On August 13, 30-year-old activist Alyaksandr Frantskevich was detained. He was charged under Article 293 of the Criminal Code (organization of mass riots), later – under Article 285 of the Criminal Code (participation in a criminal organization). His mother said that his son was tortured in the Committee of State Security with an electric shock, they demanded to sign a confession of guilt through threats, but Alexander did not.[3]

On September 2, 20-year-old Akihiro Gaevsky-Khanada, the son of an employee of the Japanese Embassy in Belarus, was recognized as a political prisoner. The guy was detained on August 12 and charged under Article 293 (participation in mass riots). Akihiro is a laureate of the Presidential special fund to support talented pupils and students. The reason for his arrest probably was the information from his phone. He subscribed to several anarchist publics.[4]

On September 12, 25-year-old software engineer Pavel Mankinenko was detained in Minsk. He was accused of spraying gas in the face of police officers on September 5 “while they were protecting public order.” He was also accused of causing at least eight bruises to the victims. Pavel said that on that day, he came to honour the memory of the deceased Alexander Taraikovsky and, seeing the police, immediately rolled up the flag. Pavel pleaded guilty. He added that he was upset because of the breakup with the girlfriend. Moreover, the violence in the country made him angry. On November 18, Pavel Mankinenko was sentenced to four years in prison.[5]

On September 17, 25-year-old Marfa Rabkova, coordinator of volunteers of the human rights centre “Viasna”, was detained near her home. On February 11, she got charged under Part 3 of Article 130 (incitement of social hostility to the authorities by a group of unidentified persons) and Part 2 of Article 285 of the Criminal Code (participation in a criminal organization). She got charged with funding and training in participation in the riots. Marfa faces up to 12 years in prison.[6]

On September 18, 27-year-old artist Vladislav Makovetsky was detained in Vitebsk. The police accused him of participation in protests and fascination with fascist symbols. On September 6, he took part in a protest, as he was outraged by what was happening in the country. At the action, he saw the security forces hitting the man and ran to his aid. Emotionally, he grabbed the policeman’s truncheon and immediately threw it aside – however, in the footage shown in court, it looked like the guy was swinging. Two police officers said that the guy attacked them. Vladislav was sentenced to two years in prison.[7]

On September 20, at a Sunday protest in Minsk, a programmer and musician from Borisov Anatoly Khinevich, 27 years old, was detained. Anatoly worked at the Information Technologies Center of the Minsk City Executive Committee and developed the official service of the Minsk City Executive Committee. At work, he was an executive employee. The guy was accused of resisting the security forces – he allegedly hit them lying down (Article 364 of the Criminal Code). Three victims asked for moral compensation of 4,000 rubles. Anatoly did not admit his guilt and said that after the prison he found bruises on his arms, legs and under the eye. He was sentenced to 2.5 years.[8]

On September 29, a 25-year-old resident of Molodechno Vladislav Evstigneev was convicted. He was accused of resisting a police officer at a peaceful protest on June 19 (Article 363 of the Criminal Code). The security forces arbitrarily detained the protesters, and Vladislav tried to prevent them. On the day of the trial, he was taken into custody. The punishment was three years in prison.[9]

On October 7, 30-year-old Dmitry Zheburtovich was arrested near his house in Minsk. He was going to the store when he was seized by the security forces and taken to the police. There he was beaten and sent to a temporary detention centre. There was a search in Dmitry’s house, his computer, telephone and other things were taken away from him. He was charged under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in riots).

On October 15, sisters Anastasia Mirontseva and Victoria Mirontseva were detained. Both got charged under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order). The girls appeared on a video from the protests on August 10, where they were also detained. In March, a trial against the sisters began. They were sentenced under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (violence against an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs). Anastasia Mirontseva received two years in prison, Victoria – 2.5 years.[10]

On October 20, a 24-year-old engineer from Gomel, Aleksey Gubich, was detained. He suffers from a rare eye disease leading to blindness. The guy was accused of causing harm to the health of an inspector of the criminal executive inspectorate. However, when they watched the video at the trial, it turned out that Aleksey was not there at all. Then the guy was accused of inflicting at least one blow to an unknown riot police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to three years in prison.[11]

On October 22, 25-year-old car washer Vladislav Gulis was arrested. On September 9, on the asphalt near the memorial to Aleksandr Taraikovsky, who died during the protests, he wrote “We will not forget”. As a result, he got charged with hooliganism (Article 339) and deliberate damage to property in a dangerous way (Article 218). He was sentenced to two years in prison in a strict regime colony. The punishment is severe. because Gulis had already been convicted under Article 328 and was released early in 2020.[12]

On November 12, the 29-year-old administrator of the training centre, Alexander Zakharevich, was detained. Alexander took part in the Sunday action on November 1 and received nine days of administrative arrest. After this punishment, he was again detained and charged under Article 364 of the Criminal Code. While fleeing from the persecution of the security forces o a protest action, he stepped on the foot of a police officer. Alexander was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay the injured policeman 500 rubles.[13]

On November 13, the trial of a 29-year-old resident of Slutsk, Roman Koranevich, took place. The incident with his participation took place on August 10. The policeman announced to him that, while running away, Roman hit one of them in the head with a heavy object. The prosecutor said that Roman was very drunk, but the alcohol test showed a small amount of alcohol in his blood. The lawyer found several inconsistencies in the case. Roman did not admit his guilt. Roman mother said that at work, he was a responsible employee and a decent person. Roman has three children at home – his little daughter is only one year old. Roman was sentenced to three years in prison under Article 363 of the Criminal Code (resistance to a police officer).[14]

On November 15, 23-year-old Darya Chultsova and 27-year-old Katerina Andreeva, journalists of the Belsat TV channel, were detained. They were broadcasting live from the place where the security forces dispersed the demonstrators – on the symbolic «square of Changes» (courtyard on Chervyakov Street in Minsk). The girls were charged under Article 342 (organizing or participating in mass riots). «Minsktrans» stated that the actions of the journalists caused damage to 11,562 rubles. The girls did not admit their guilt. The court sentenced them to two years in prison.[15]

On November 18, the trial of 21-year-old Anton Lakishik took place. Anton was accused of attacking a riot police officer on July 14, when the security forces detained the protesters. The riot police officer did not receive harm and did not apply to medical institutions, but he asked for compensation of 1000 rubles. Lakishik fully admitted his guilt. He was sentenced to three years in prison.[16]

On November 20, 19-year-old Yevgeny Zashchitov was detained in Zhlobin. In August, a resident of Zhlobin allegedly threw stones at law enforcement officers and their official vehicles. However, nobody, including the “victim”, identified the defendant, and the entire charge was based on the testimony of two witnesses. Yevgeny was sentenced to 3 years in prison in a general regime colony under Article 364 of the Criminal Code (Violence against the police).[17]

On November 26, 27-year-old Stefan Lazovik was detained in Horki. The guy was an independent observer at the Gorki polling station №2. And on the night of August 11-12, he wrote at one of the stopping points in Horki “He lost and began to kill. Cattle go away!” On September 16, the guy was kidnapped by unknown persons in civilian clothes. They promised him that if he told the truth, he would be released. Stefan did so, but he was not released – he was sentenced to a year in prison in a colony under Article 339 (malicious hooliganism).[18]

On November 30, 18-year-old Minsk resident Sofia Malashevich was detained. On September 6, at a protest action, she painted riot police shields. The state prosecutor stressed that the girl showed contempt for the moral values of society. The damage to the military unit amounted to 103 rubles. The girl was also accused of insulting the president (article 368 of the Criminal Code). Sofia was sentenced to two years in prison.[19]

On December 12, 25-year-old Alina Voytekh from Machulishchy got charged with violence against a police officer (Article 364). The girl was sentenced to 13 days for participation in an unauthorized protest action. According to the investigation, Alina threatened one of the police officers, tore off his mask, pushed and bit him on the thigh. Alina pleaded not guilty. She said that the police officer hit her in the face and stepped on her head. The girl was sentenced to two years in prison.[20]

On December 19, Aleksandr Frantsuzov, a 27-year-old resident of Zhlobin, received four years in prison for violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code). On August 11, the day of his arrest, he injured the hand of the deputy head of the Zhlobin district police station. Alexander said he was going on a voyage (he is a truck driver). Having reached the centre, he saw how car drivers were being detained and decided to leave. But the policeman grabbed the door handle and broke the glass, which blocked his hand. Alexander backed up and handed the security officer along with the asphalt. The damage, according to the victim, amounted to 1,500 rubles. The truck driver was sentenced to 4 years in prison, and his little son remained at his home.[21]

On December 21, Nikolai Shemetov, a 30-year-old father with many children, was detained. Police arrested him near his daughter’s school. Then they searched his apartment, car and office. His laptop and telephone were seized. His wife refused to present the search warrant, the arrest warrant and copies of documents. Nikolai was accused of active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code).

On February 2, the trial of Artem Savchuk, a 30-year-old programmer from Poland, took place. He was accused of blocking the road on August 10, participating in clashes with police officers, throwing firecrackers and bolts on the road. Artyom said that he did not commit any illegal actions. Artem’s parents and friends said that the guy came to Belarus to visit his friends and parents. The programmer, according to investigators, was pushing carts in a parking lot near one of the Minsk shopping centres onto the road. In the video from the security cameras, the guy disappeared from the line of sight for some time – the prosecution had no other evidence. Artem was sentenced to 4 years in a colony.[22]

On February 5, a 21-year-old resident of Zhlobin Dmitry Gopta was sent to the colony. He has mental retardation and enuresis. According to the investigation, on August 9 and 10, he participated in protest actions (Article 342) and committed violence against a policeman (Article 364). His mother said that during the first days of protests, he was at home with his relatives. Dmitry fully admitted his guilt (as the state lawyer advised him to do). At the trial, he confirmed that he threw one stone and ran away. He told his mother that he was beaten in prison.[23]

On February 8, 18-year-old Brest resident Alexander Teleshman was detained. Firstly he was arrested on August 14, 2020, when he was not yet 18 years old. Police took him from home in shorts without a T-shirt and shoes. He was in the police station without his parents. On August 20, he was interrogated in the Investigative Committee without legal representatives. Then he was released on recognizance not to leave. But on February 8, he was again detained and transferred to SIZO-7. The guy got charged with participating in mass riots (Article 293 of the Criminal Code).[24]

On February 16, the trial of 23-year-old Andrei Popov took place. He was wounded and detained on August 9 at a protest after the presidential elections. After three days in the pre-trial detention centre, Andrei was released. On September 1, he was again detained in the case of mass riots. Andrei said that he went out to protest because he did not agree with the results of the elections. He did not admit his guilt for participating in the riots but partially agreed with the violence against the police officer. Waving arms and legs were regarded as violence. The victim did not appear in court. Andrei Popov was sentenced to 5 years in prison.[25]

On March 15, 29-year-old illumination designer Danila Goncharov was detained. He was fired from the New Drama Theater for the strike. On March 15, security officials came to his apartment with a search and, having found the flag, sent him to prison for 15 days. On March 30, he was not released, because he got charged with organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code).[26]

On March 16, Aleksey Melnikov, a 29-year-old resident of Minsk, was sentenced to five years in prison. On August 10, 2020, he went to the city on personal matters. When he was near the “Riga” supermarket, he saw people who started calling for blocking the streets. Then a wall of riot police came out on them. Aleksey went to them and offered to lay down the shields. On December 4, Aleksey was arrested on charges of participating in mass riots (Article 293 of the Criminal Code).[27]

On March 23, 18-year-old Pavel Mazko from Brest was taken into custody during interrogation. He was charged under Article 293 (participation in mass riots) on August 10. Before his arrest, Pavel was engaged in clothing design, was a volunteer, supported people with disabilities and children in orphanages. Now Pavel is in jail.

On April 10, 26-year-old Sergei Bril from Borisov went to serve three years of restriction of freedom. The guy was detained on September 23 in the enterprise where he worked, saying that he was a witness of car theft. In the department, the guy was accused under Article 342 of the Criminal Code. On October 2, he was charged with participation in riots, and his detention was extended. Besides, he was accused of calls for action, which he left in Telegram chats. Minsktrans filed a lawsuit of 38 thousand rubles – this is how the organization assessed the damage that Sergei caused by his actions during the protest actions.[28]

We have previously talked about the repression of students and adolescents. However, as you can see, young professionals, parents of small children, guardians of elderly parents, children who have graduated from colleges and have not yet had time to get a job also fall under this rink. “Our House” hopes that our youth will be able to prove themselves in the new Belarus and believes that they will no longer need to flee the country to survive.