Reacting to the news that a court in Belarus sentenced Danuta Pyarednya, a 20-year-old student from Mahiliou, to 6.5 years in jail for reposting a message criticizing the war in Ukraine and the role of Belarus’ ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka in it, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“The Belarusian authorities are increasingly clamping down on all dissent and continuing to support Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. Danuta Pyarednya and all persons in Belarus jailed for peacefully expressing their opinions and speaking out against the war must be released immediately and all charges against them dropped.”
On July 5, a court in Kirausk, Mahiliou Oblast, sentenced Danuta Pyarednya, former student of Kulyashou Mahiliou State University, to six and a half years in a penal colony. She had been accused of “harming the national interests of Belarus” (Article 361(3) of the Criminal Code) and of “insulting the President” (Article 368(1)), a conduct that should not be criminalized in the first place.
The Belarusian authorities detained Pyarednya on February 28, for reposting a text criticizing Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka for waging war in Ukraine. A top student, she was promptly expelled from the university. On June 10, while she was in detention, the Belarusian State Security Committee added her to the official list of “individuals involved in the terrorist activities.”
Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than a thousand people have been detained in Belarus, Russia’s ally, for expressing their anti-war views.
Contact: Gabby Arias, [email protected]