Digest of prosecutions for anti-war protest in Belarus in 2022

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” (Belarus) released an analytical article “From ‘sutki’ to shot knees: how Belarusians are persecuted for their anti-war position”.

After the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, Belarusians actively express their anti-military position: they organise street actions, take the railway infrastructure out of order to prevent the transfer of Russian military cargo, and transmit information about the movement of Russian troops.

For their anti-war position in Belarus:

  • more than 1,500 people were detained only in the first month and a half after February 24 (in total, 6,381 people were detained in Belarus in 2022) as part of administrative prosecution;
  • more than 10 people were detained for sabotage on the railway tracks, and 7 people were sentenced to terms of 11 to 23 years in colonies of the reinforced regime. The knee joints of three detainees were deliberately shot after the arrest. Because of the regular destruction of the railway infrastructure, the authorities have introduced changes in criminal legislation. Now, the highest measure of punishment (the death penalty) can be applied to an attempt to commit an act of terrorism, even if there are no victims;
  • at least 30 people have been sentenced for transmitting photos of Russian military equipment to the media. Due to the fact that almost all non-state media are recognized as “extremist formations”, the Belarusian authorities regard the transfer of their data as “assistance to extremist activity” (art. 361-4 of the Criminal Code – from 2 to 6 years of imprisonment), “participation in an extremist formation” (art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code) or even “high treason” (art. 356 of the Criminal Code – from 7 to 15 years of imprisonment).

Read more about the persecution for the anti-war position in Belarus in the article of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.