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  • Incommunicado: Isolation and Ill-Treatment of Political Prisoners in Belarus. October 26

    Join Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) for a virtual discussion on the isolation and ill-treatment of political prisoners in Belarus.

    Speakers include RFE/RL journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich who was unjustly imprisoned in Belarus from December 2021 to September 2022.

    Reg­is­ter here to join: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_h7f60-NuSWeeimgICt-f0A#/registration

    More than three years since the fraud­u­lent re-elec­tion of Alyak­san­dr Lukashen­ka and the vio­lent repres­sion of those peace­ful­ly protest­ing the out­come, the cri­sis of polit­i­cal impris­on­ment in Belarus con­tin­ues to deep­en. Near­ly 1,500 peo­ple are con­sid­ered polit­i­cal pris­on­ers in Belarus, includ­ing jour­nal­ists, human rights defend­ers, and oppo­si­tion politi­cians.

    Belaru­sian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers dis­crim­i­na­to­ri­ly face harsh­er treat­ment in deten­tion. They are more like­ly to be held in inhu­mane con­di­tions, denied med­ical care, and sub­ject­ed to tor­ture. Harsh deten­tion con­di­tions severe­ly threat­en the phys­i­cal and men­tal health of detainees. A num­ber of polit­i­cal pris­on­ers have died in deten­tion in recent years, includ­ing blog­ger Mikalay Klimovich in May and artist Ales Pushkin in July 2023.

    The Lukashen­ka regime sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly exerts psy­cho­log­i­cal pres­sure on pris­on­ers by lim­it­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their lawyers and fam­i­lies. UN experts report Belaru­sian author­i­ties are dou­bling down on this iso­la­tion pol­i­cy and increas­ing­ly resort­ing to cut­ting off all com­mu­ni­ca­tion between polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and the out­side world.

    Incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion car­ries the risk of enforced dis­ap­pear­ance, a crime against human­i­ty when prac­ticed in a wide­spread or sys­tem­at­ic man­ner. Polit­i­cal pris­on­ers cur­rent­ly being held incom­mu­ni­ca­do in Belarus include RFE/RL jour­nal­ist Ihar Losik, oppo­si­tion politi­cian Maria Kalesnika­va, and video blog­ger Syarhey Tsikhanous­ki.

    This dis­cus­sion will focus on the dete­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions of deten­tion in Belarus, with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the use of iso­la­tion and incom­mu­ni­ca­do deten­tion as a repres­sive tac­tic against polit­i­cal pris­on­ers. Pan­elists will present rec­om­men­da­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers to advo­cate for Belaru­sian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and hold the Lukashen­ka regime account­able.


    • Aleksy Dzikaw­ic­ki, Deputy Direc­tor, Bel­sat TV (Mod­er­a­tor)

    • Aleh Hruzdzilovich, Jour­nal­ist, Belarus Ser­vice, RFE/RL

    • Anas­tasi­ia Kruope, Assis­tant Researcher, Europe and Cen­tral Asia Divi­sion, Human Rights Watch

    • Pavel Sapelko, Lawyer, Vias­na

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