Date of Birth: March 28, 1976
Arrested: Belarus, Mogilev; May 4, 2023
Charges: Incitement of enmity or discord
Verdict: 2 years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony
Judge: Irina Teplova
Place of Detention: Penal Colony No. 4.
Arrest and legal prosecution of Anna Skrigan
Anna Skrigan – Candidate of Geographical Sciences and former head of the Mogilev branch of the international organization “EcoProject”. She regularly participated in scientific conferences related to ecology and urban studies, and often served as an expert in talk shows of the Centre for Urban Initiatives. At various times, she worked as an associate professor in the Department of Life Safety and later headed the Department of Highways at the Belarusian-Russian University.
As of December 2021, Anna Skrigan was employed at the Tyumen State University. The last mention of her professional activities on the internet dates back to 2022, when she co-authored an article with other research colleagues in a Russian scientific journal.
Despite ongoing efforts, a significant part of Anna Skrigan’s persecution story remains hidden from the public, largely due to the efforts of law enforcement agencies. Human rights activists have long lacked information about her arrest and the criminal case against her. As Anna Skrigan was a well-known ecologist in the city and the region, many believed that the repression wouldn’t affect her.
However, in early August 2023, it became known that the Mogilev Regional Court had scheduled a closed court hearing for Anna Skrigan on August 21. She was accused of “inciting racial, national, religious, or other social enmity or discord” (Article 130 of the Belarusian Criminal Code). It was also announced that the presiding judge would be Irina Teplova, known in the city for delivering politically motivated verdicts.
Even after the court date was announced, the circumstances of the criminal case and the ecologist’s detention remained unknown to human rights activists. All case documents have been closed.
Court and verdict
The Mogilev Regional Court, which held a closed session on August 23, 2023, delivered a verdict to Anna Skrigan, a 47-year-old Candidate of Geographical Sciences and former head of the department at the Belarusian-Russian University. She was charged by the prosecutor’s office with “inciting other forms of social enmity or discord” under Article 130, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. Details of the trial and the criminal case remain unknown, as the entire court proceedings were held in a closed-door mode.
The court found the woman guilty of “incitement of enmity” and sentenced her to two years of imprisonment in a general regime colony. As previously announced, the case was considered by Judge Irina Teplova.
During the investigation and following the trial, prior to the verdict taking legal effect, Anna was incarcerated in Mogilev Detention Center No. 4. Subsequently, she was was convoyed to Penal Colony No. 4.
On September 15, 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs added Anna Skrigan to the “extremists” list.
On October 12, 2023, the Belarusian KGB included Anna Skrigan in the “terrorists” list.