Another Belarusian civic activist imprisoned over „breach of parole”


A Minsk court on Tuesday 29 May sentenced Vasil Parfiankou to 6 months imprisonment for supposedly breaching parole.  He had been sentenced in February 2011 to 4 years imprisonment over his involvement in the 19 December 2010 demonstration in protest at rigged presidential elections (the charge was of “participation in mass riots”), but was pardoned by Presidential Decree in August last year.

After his release, Vasil Parfiankou continued his civic activities and actively supported others facing persecution in Belarus.

The Viasna Human Rights Centre has stated that they consider Mr Parfiankou to be a political prisoner and that the regime is continuing to harass activists prosecuted for taking part in the protests on 19 December 2010.  It is seeking through such measures to intimidate active members of Belarusian society.

Viasna also notes with concern that such parole requirements have been used against the youth activists Uladzimir Yaromenak and Pavel Vinahradau and fear that the measure may be used to imprison them as well.

As reported here, on 24 February this year civic activist Siarhey Kavalenka was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month imprisonment – effectively for hoisting the prohibited Belarusian national flag on a New Year tree on the central square in Vitebsk.

In January 2010, Siarhei Kavalenka received a three-year “restricted freedom” sentence for hoisting the prohibited white, red and white flag, the historical symbol of Belarus “in a public place”. 

The presiding judge in Tuesday’s hearing was Syarhei Bandarenka whose claim to notoriety includes sentencing the renowned human rights defender and Director of Viasna, Ales Bialiatski to 4.5 years imprisonment.

Charter 97 reports that during the hearing on Tuesday Vasil Parfiankou said that he had been arrested going to the shop.  He believes he was put on parole to prevent his civic activities. 

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