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  • Ten years of imprisonment: Supreme Court dismisses Aliaksandr Fiaduta’s appeal

    On 29 November, the Supreme Court of Belarus considered the appeal of political scientist Aliaksandr  Fiaduta challenging his sentence for “attempted coup d’etat.” As the human rights activists predicted, the appeal was denied, and the verdict was upheld – 10 years of imprisonment.

    Ali­ak­san­dr Fiadu­ta was detained in Moscow on 12 April 2021 and charged with con­spir­a­cy to seize state pow­er by uncon­sti­tu­tion­al means. The accu­sa­tion was fur­ther expand­ed to crimes such as the orga­ni­za­tion of actions that gross­ly vio­late pub­lic order, incite­ment of social enmi­ty, and encour­ag­ing sanc­tions aimed at harm­ing the nation­al secu­ri­ty of Belarus.

    Ali­ak­san­dr Lukashen­ka con­firmed the deten­tion of “a crim­i­nal group of Belaru­sians and for­eign­ers” who had alleged­ly been prepar­ing attempts on him and his three sons. In addi­tion to the phys­i­cal elim­i­na­tion of the “Belaru­sian leader,” the “intrud­ers, sup­port­ed by U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies,” seem to have been plan­ning an armed mutiny to seize pow­er by force.

    On 5 Sep­tem­ber 2022, Judge of Min­sk Region­al Court Uladz­imir Aresh­ka pro­nounced the sen­tence in the high-pro­file case. The accused colum­nist Ali­ak­san­dr Fiadu­ta and politi­cian Ryhor Ryhor Kas­tusy­ou were sen­tenced to 10 years in prison each, lawyer Yury Ziankovich – to 11 years, accoun­tant Vol­ha Halubovich and pub­lic fig­ure Dzia­n­is Krauchuk – to 2.5 years, respec­tive­ly.

    It is the sec­ond time that Ali­ak­san­dr Fiadu­ta has become a polit­i­cal pris­on­er. He was also arrest­ed dur­ing the 2010 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and sen­tenced to 2 years of sus­pend­ed impris­on­ment with a pro­ba­tion peri­od of 2 years.

    The cur­rent stay in prison sig­nif­i­cant­ly under­mined the phys­i­cal con­di­tion of the 58-year-old polit­i­cal pris­on­er: he was diag­nosed with heart fail­ure and suf­fered an attack of angi­na and arrhyth­mia. Despite this, a year ago, he went on a “med­ical strike” – he refused to take heart med­ica­tion, protest­ing against the cor­re­spon­dence ban and the con­fis­ca­tion of his lit­er­ary man­u­script. As a result, the jail admin­is­tra­tion had to meet him halfway.

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