Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Siarhei Tsikhanouski facing new charge of “obstructing elections”

Siarhei Tsikhanouski. Photo: Aliaksandra Bahuslauskaya/Deutsche Welle
Siarhei Tsikhanouski. Photo: Aliaksandra Bahuslauskaya/Deutsche Welle

Popular YouTuber and election campaigner Siarhei Tsikhanouski is facing a new charge of “interfering with elections” (Art. 191 of the Criminal Code), according to a reliable source. The charge carries a range of possible penalties, including imprisonment.

The charge may stem from a complaint Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the Central Election Commission, reportedly filed against Tsikhanouski in early June.

During a CEC meeting on June 4, Yarmoshyna said she had written to the Investigative Committee to report “obstruction of elections and the CEC work, including through threats” allegedly committed by the nomination group of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, whose husband Siarhei Tsikhanouski is head of her campaign team.

Tsikhanouski is currently held in pre-trial detention after facing criminal charges of “disturbing public order” at an election picket on May 29 in Hrodna. The country’s human rights community called Tsikhanouski and seven more campaign activists arrested in the case political prisoners and called for their immediate release.