At the end of 2021, there were 969 political prisoners in Belarus. This is the largest number of political prisoners in the history of independent Belarus. There are people of all ages, professions and social status among the prisoners, but they are united by one thing: they all stood up against the rigged presidential election, torture and repression, which resulted in their politically motivated prosecution.

A total of 1,108 people were recognized as political prisoners by the human rights community of Belarus between 2020 and the end of 2021. Some of them have been released, some are awaiting the verdict, and some have managed to leave the country.

Out of all the political prisoners, 858 are men and 111 are women.

As of today, there are minors and persons who have turned 18 years old while serving their sentence in the juvenile prison. It is also known about at least 12 retirees who have been prosecuted and are currently in jail.

Those sentenced to imprisonment and restricted liberty have already started serving their sentences: 331 people in prison and 195 people in “chemistry”. The punishment for six people was changed to a more severe one: high security prison.

By the end of 2021, 403 people were kept in pre-trial detention centers. Six more people are under house arrest. Several political prisoners are serving administrative arrest in detention centers. “Viasna” human rights activists also do not know the exact whereabouts of several political prisoners.

Among the political prisoners are: 

  • 32 media representatives;
  • 45 students and teachers;
  • 67 cultural professionals.

Seven “Viasna” human rights activists are also kept behind bars: “Viasna” chairman Ales Bialiatski, deputy chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich, lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich, head of “Viasna’s” Homieĺ office Leanid Sudalenka and his assistant Tatsiana Lasitsa, coordinator of “Viasna” volunteer service Marfa Rabkova and volunteer Andrei Chapiuk.

At least seven political prisoners are parents with three or more children in the family. Also, at least seven family couples, a husband and a wife, were sentenced to imprisonment or are in jail under investigation.

Anarchists Ihar Alinevich and Siarhei Ramanau were sentenced to 20 years in prison each. These are the most severe verdicts in political trials.

Source: Human Rights Center “Viasna”