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  • Criminal case of Yury Drakakhrust, Hanna Liubakova, and 18 other defendants forwarded to Prosecutor General

    The Investigative Committee has reported the completion of the preliminary investigation against twenty ‘analysts of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’, who are recognized in Belarus as an ‘extremist formation’. The criminal case involves multiple defendants, including journalists Yury Drakakhrust and Hanna Liubakova.

    Illustration image. Source: pexels.com

    The defendants also include political observers and analysts: Ryhor Astapenia, Filip Bikanau, Aliaksandr Dabravolski, Andrei Kazakevich, Hanna Krasulina, Yauhen Kryzhanouski, Dzianis Kuchynski, Veranika Laputska, Aliaksandr Lahvinets, Vasil Naumau, Maria Rohava, Piotr Rudkouski, Alesia Rudnik, Natallia Rabava, Pavel Usau, Tatsiana Chulitskaya, Aliaksandr Shlyk, Katsiaryna Shmatsina.

    The trial will be organized as “special proceedings” because all the defendants are outside Belarus, according to the telegram channel of the Investigative Committee. The website of the Investigative Committee outlines the charges against 20 members of the extremist formation ‘Analysts of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’.

    The investigation revealed that the analysts, under the guidance of foreign supervisors, developed strategies and tactics to suppress the current Belarusian authorities. They also prepared theses for public speeches made by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and “publications on supervised destructive resources.” These efforts were aimed at “activating protest sentiments, deepening the split in Belarusian society, and increasing political and economic pressure on the Republic of Belarus”.

    On January 25th of this year, investigators began ‘special proceedings’ against 20 individuals who were declared to be part of an ‘extremist formation’. The criminal charges include several articles:

    – Article 16, paragraph 6 and Article 130, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code that prohibit the facilitation of deliberate acts aimed at inciting social hatred and discord based on social affiliation by a group of persons.

    – Article 357, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code that criminalizes conspiracy to seize state power through unconstitutional means.

    – Article 16, paragraph 6, and Article 361, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code that prohibit the facilitation of public appeals to seize state power or commit other acts that harm the national security of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the use of mass media and the internet to appeal to a foreign state, foreign organization, or international organization to commit acts that harm the national security of the Republic of Belarus is also prohibited.

    – Article 361-1, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code that criminalizes leadership in an extremist formation and its structural subdivision.

    – Article 361-1, part 3, of the Criminal Code that prohibits joining an extremist formation to commit an extremist crime (participation in an extremist formation).

    The Investigative Committee has forwarded the case to the Prosecutor General for further submission to the court.

    The IC reports that the property belonging to ‘analysts of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’, including apartments, houses, and land plots, has been seized to compensate for the damage caused.

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