Belarus

Over 250 criminal cases opened since launch of election

Since the announcement of the presidential election in early May, the authorities have opened over 250 criminal cases targeting presidential candidates, members of their campaign teams, and peaceful protesters.

Viasna knows the names of 200 persons affected by these cases. Sixty-eight persons on the list have been called political prisoners.

Eighty-seven people are facing charges of “mass riots” (Art. 293 of the Criminal Code). Others are accused of “organizing group actions that grossly breach public order” (Art. 342). This charge was used to arrest a dozen activists in what is now known as “Tsikhanouski case”, and also several protesters detained following a demonstration on July 14.

Some protesters were charged with resisting police (Art. 363) or using violence against law enforcement officers (Art. 364).

Art. 243 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion) was brought against activists of Viktar Babaryka’s campaign and several employees of businesses that helped the presidential nominee or provided assistance to victims of police-related violence.

Human rights defenders are also aware of several persons facing charges of libel (Art. 188) and hooliganism (Art. 339).

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