On July 8, 2024 Brest Regional Court announced the verdict of human rights defender Olga Karach, head of the International Center for civil initiatives “Our House”.

Olga Karach was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 600,000 Belarusian rubles (170,000 euros).

Together with her, Veranika Tsepkala, Yauhen Vilski, Anatoli Kotau and Vadzim Dzmitrenak received 12 years in prison each.

Veranika Tsepkala also received a fine of 40,000 Belarusian rubles (EUR 11,300)

Yauhen Vilsky was also fined 480,000 Belarusian Roubles (EUR 135,400).

Anatoli Kotov also received a fine of 600,000 Belarusian Roubles (EUR 170,000).

Vadzim Dzmitrenak also received a fine of 440,000 Belarusian roubles (EUR 124,000).

Olga Karach, Veranika Tsepkala, Yauhen Vilsky and other defendants were charged under five criminal articles “conspiracy or attempted coup to seize state power by unconstitutional means, (part 1 art. 357 CC), “assistance to extremist activity” (part 1 and part 2 of article 361-4 of the CC), “creation of an extremist formation” (part 1 and part 3 of article 361-1 of the CC), “discrediting the Republic of Belarus” (part 369-1 of the CC) and “defamation of Aliaksandr Lukashenka” (part 2 of article 367 of the CC).

 The link for the court judgement (only possible to open from Belarus, Russia or via VPN):


 Who is the people?

Olga Karach is a human rights defender, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2024.

Olga Karach is one of the founders of the peace movement in Belarus. Since December 2005, she and her colleagues have founded the International Center for Civil Initiatives “Our House”.  She has been working as human right defender on supporting the most vulnerable groups, such as women, children, LGBTI, refugees for years.

Olga Karach is currently the most famous and popular YouTube blogger in Belarus, over the past three years her video messages to people, on the topics of non-violent protests in Belarus, were viewed by more than 40 million people and the number of her subscribers is about 80 thousand. Olga Karach largely promotes the ideas of nonviolent resistance / peaceful conflict resolution even in the face of very violent conflicts, including the abduction and rape of children in prisons by the Belarusian security forces. She is the author of some 300 articles in the fields of civic and political work (non-violent resistance, conflict resolution, gender problems, feminist agenda, human rights etc.), in main national independent media, some foreign media, Internet.

Olga Karach is a laureate of well-known international human rights prizes:

• 2023 – Alexander Langer International Peace Prize, Italy

• 2023 – Sean MacBride Peace Prize, Germany

• 2022 – Human Rights Award of the City of Weimar, Germany

• 2019: the International Peace Award – Bremen, Germany.

• 2010: International Award “For civil courage” – Radebeul, Germany

• 2007: “Person of the Year” – Amnesty International for Belarus (for being best in Human Rights defence).

Master of Arts in Political Sciences, European Humanitarian University, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists since 1999.

Member of WILPF.

Active participant in the “Women’s Peace Dialogue” international network.

One of founders and active participant of Global Peacebuilders Summit in Berlin (Germany).

Member of the Board of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors (EBCO).

Veranika Tsapkala is the second female face of the Belarusan Revolution 2020, the wife of presidential candidate Valery Tsapkala, whose headquarters merged with those of Viktаr Babaryka and Siarhei Tsіkhanouskі, presidential candidates in 2020.

Her husband Valery Tsapkala, was sentenced in absentia in Belarus to 17 years in prison for public calls for actions against the national security of Belarus, creation of an extremist formation, as well as slander and public insult of Lukashenka, as well as discrediting the Republic of Belarus.

Maryia Kalesnіkava, the third female face of the Belarusian revolution, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for public calls for actions against the national security of Belarus, creation of an extremist formation, as well as conspiracy to seize state power by unconstitutional means. She was recognised as a political prisoner. At the moment Maryia Kalesnіkava has been in prison for more than a year in the status of incommunicado, her lawyers and relatives are not allowed to visit her, parcels and letters are not delivered to her.

Yauhen Vіlskі is the acting chairman of the social-democratic party Narodnaya Hramada. In 2020, he headed Sviatlana Tsіkhanouskaya’s initiative group in Vitebsk region.

Chairman of the Narodnaya Hramada party Mikalai Statkevich was sentenced to 14 years in a special regime colony and recognised as a political prisoner. At the moment he has been in the incommunicado regime for more than 500 days, his lawyers and relatives are not allowed to visit him, parcels and letters are not delivered. Mikalai Statkevich is the only political prisoner sentenced to “special regime” in Belarusan prison, which means additional torture and pressure.

Anatol Kotau is a former high-ranking Belarusian official. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lukashenka’s Administration, Lukashenka’s Office, the National Olympic Committee, and was deputy director of the Foundation “Directorate of the II European Games”. He supported the movement for free elections and resigned in protest against electoral fraud, currently he is actively helping Belarusian Olympic champions and athletes in exile.

Vadzim Dzmitronak is a cultural activist and a well-known Minsk architect. He was brutally detained and severely beaten on November 15, 2020, during the action in memory of the artist Raman Bandarenka, who was brutally murdered by police officers in the yard of his own house. Vadzim spent a week in the emergency hospital under police escort, from where he was kidnapped by the same escort and taken to Okrestino (the most famous centre for isolation of offenders for torture), then two days later Vadzim was again taken to the Zhodzina prison hospital for a week, after which he was transferred to the Zhodzina pre-trial detention centre. Then he was transferred by stage to a pre-trial detention center. As a result, on March 17, 2021, he was awarded three years of restriction of freedom with direction, and he illegally fled across the border from Belarus.

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One Comment, RSS

  • Susanne Urban

    Brave Olga! Tell us how we can support?
    Gandhi said:
    First they ignore us
    Then they laugh at us
    Then they fight us.
    Then we win.