Christian philosopher in Belarus sentenced to 5 years in prison


Eastern Europe


Vladimir Matskevich. Photo Twitter

Belarusian intellectual Vladimir Matskevich has been sentenced to five years in prison by a Minsk court. Matskevich was detained on August 4, 2021, for publicly questioning the outcome of the 2020 election results.

One of the things the 66-year-old philosopher has been found guilty of is “active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order”, the Belarussian PEN reported. This is because he attended the “March of the People’s Ultimatum”, a protest march calling for the resignation of President Lukashenko on October 25, 2020. Matskevich has been charged and found guilty under a total of three articles of the criminal code: “establishment and management of an extremist formation”, “participation in mass riots”, and “insulting Lukashenko” reports BELSAT.

No access to lawyer

In February 2021, the philosopher went on a two-week hunger strike. He contested his incarceration and called for a transfer to house arrest. He also demanded the continuation of the investigation of the 2020 presidential polls, writes Radio Liberty. Authorities ignored his demands. Matskevich has been denied access to a lawyer and pastor for an extensive period.

Earlier this month, on June 20, opposition activist Lyudmila Ramanovic was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a Belarussian court. She was found guilty of insulting president Lukashenko. In a letter she wrote, Ramanovic called Lukashenko a “usurper”. In March, the activist wrote a letter to protest Belarus’ involvement in the war in Ukraine, according to Radio Evropa e Lirë.

Journalist in prison

Another case currently being investigated is the arrest of Iryna Slaunikava, a journalist from the city of Homel. Slaunikava and her husband were sentenced to 30 days in prison on charges of “distributing extremist materials and light hooliganism”, writes Radio Free Europe. After her release, the journalist was arrested again and may face several years in prison.



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