Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Tsikhanouski, Statkevich facing more charges

Opposition leader Mikalai Statkevich and critical vlogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski are facing new criminal charges, the Investigative Committee’s official Telegram channel said.

The authorities say they are investigating Tsikhanouski’s and Statkevich’s alleged involvement in “preparing for riots” (Part 2, Art. 293 of the Criminal Code). Tsikhanouski was also named a suspect in a case under Part 3, Art. 130 of the Criminal Code (inciting hatred towards law enforcement officers).

Siarhei Tsikhanouski. Photo:
Siarhei Tsikhanouski. Photo:

Siarhei Tsikhanouski and Mikalai Statkevich, together with nearly twenty other persons, were earlier charged with “preparation for or active participation in group actions that grossly breach public order”. The charge is reportedly linked to an election picket held in Hrodna on May 29.

Tsikhanouski was arrested on the same day, while Statkevich was detained on May 31.

Belarusian human rights organizations called all the persons arrested in the case political prisoners.

Later, Tsikhanouski also faced a charge of “interfering with the work of election authorities”, after Central Election Commission chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna complained to the Investigative Committee about the threats she allegedly received from the blogger and campaign activist.

Mikalai Statkevich. Photo:
Mikalai Statkevich. Photo:

Both Tsikhanouski and Statkevich have been held in pre-trial detention since then. On July 29, the authorities extended Tsikhanouski’s pre-trial detention by two more months, until September 29.