Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Over 60 protesters facing criminal charges across Belarus

A police truck ramming into a crowd of protesters in Minsk. August 9, 2020. Photo:
A police truck ramming into a crowd of protesters in Minsk. August 9, 2020. Photo:

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” is aware of over sixty persons arrested in various cities of Belarus on criminal charges following the post-election protests.

The detainees were named suspects in three criminal cases: Art. 293 (mass riots), Art. 363 (resistance to a law enforcement officer), and Art. 364 (violence of threat of violence against a law enforcement officer).

The “rioting case” involves at least twelve former members of Viktar Babaryka’s campaign headquarters. Most of them were arrested and are held in the KGB prison or in the Interior Ministry’s pre-trial prison in Minsk. No formal charges have been brought and they are remain suspects in the case. Two activists were released.

Yury Vaskrasenski was arrested on August 12. The following day, a report aired by the Belarus 1 TV channel called him responsible for organizing a protest in the Uručča district of Minsk. According to his wife, Vaskrasenski is in custody in the KGB pre-trial prison. He is suspected of committing crimes under Art. 293 and Art. 310 (intentional blocking of transport communication) of the Criminal Code. His son Artur was arrested too.

Ihar Yarmolau was beaten during arrest and is currently in a military hospital in Minsk.

Other suspects in the case include anarchists Aliaksandr Frantskevich and Akikhiro Hanoda, a volunteer of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s headquarters Aleh Maiseyenka, three Homieĺ activists, and two Russian nationals.

In a separate count, at least seventeen protesters were arrested in Brest. The “rioting” charges they  facing reportedly stem from the demonstrations held on August 10 and 11.

Eight more protesters are detained on criminal charges in Navapolack, Hrodna, Mazyr, Kareličy and Marjina Horka.

Art. 363 (resistance to police) targets three persons in Polack, Sluck and Minsk.

Mikhail Simakou was detained on August 11. He was reportedly carrying $ 10,000 in a backpack to pay participants in the riots. Simakou and his wife, however, say the money came from the sale of his car. The man was released from detention on August 14. The money, however, were not returned to him.

Three protesters are suspected of using violence against police officers in Baranavičy, Slonim and Pinsk.

Maksim Kuchynski was detained on August 9 during a peaceful rally in Slonim. He reportedly tried to defend a girl who was being beaten by riot police. The next day he was given 7 days in prison and a criminal case was opened against him. He is now free on bail.

Alena Maushuk in Pinsk was arrested for dabbing a stick at a riot police officer.

Viktar Kupryk is accused of throwing bottles with solvent at law enforcement personnel. Kupryk, however, argues that he was simply carrying the bottles.

Viasna knows the names of at least six more suspects in the case, who are also facing “rioting” charges.