MINSK, October 28. / TASS /. Belarusian human rights activists reported that since the beginning of the presidential election campaign in Belarus, more than 500 criminal cases have been opened against participants in the presidential elections, protests and activists.
"Since the beginning of the presidential campaign in Belarus in 2020, for almost five months, more than 500 criminal cases have been opened in the country against participants in the presidential race, activists of their headquarters, participants in peaceful protests that took place after the election campaign," reads a statement published on Wednesday on the website of the human rights center "Viasna". Most of all criminal cases were initiated against citizens under article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus ("Mass riots"). Human rights activists know the names of at least 143 persons involved in cases under this article. Often they used punishment under Articles 342 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (Organization or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order), Art. 363 ("Resistance to an employee of the internal affairs bodies or another person protecting public order"), Art. 364 ("Violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies").
Cases were also opened for tax evasion; activists of the headquarters of ex-presidential contender Viktor Babariko and employees of companies who helped the headquarters of alternative candidates or those who suffered during protests were detained under this economic article. It is also known about the start of criminal cases for libel, hooliganism, under other articles of the Criminal Code.
Almost a hundred political prisoners
As of October 28, human rights defenders have collected almost 390 names and surnames of people from different cities of the country, whose criminal prosecution is related to the events of the election campaign and after it. 96 people from this list are currently political prisoners, according to human rights activists. At the same time, human rights activists point out that as before, not a single case has been initiated on the numerous facts of the use of violence by the security forces against the demonstrators.
The Prosecutor General's Office confirmed that in connection with the riots and the consequences of the protest actions, more than 500 criminal cases were initiated, most of all related to the events in Minsk, while noting that each offender would be identified.
Mass protests have been taking place in Belarus since the day of the elections on August 9, which, according to the CEC, was won by the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko with 80.10% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya took the second place with 10.12%, she did not recognize the results of the vote. In the first days, the actions turned into violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement agencies. The opposition calls on the protests to continue, the authorities demand to stop illegal actions.