Political prisoner and trade union activist Valiantsin Tseranevich turned 48 on 13 February.
Valiantsin worked as an assistant foreman at the Khimvolokno plant, part of Grodno Azot. In 2020, he was elected deputy chairman of the primary organisation of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union at the Grodno plant.
The trade union leader was detained on 20 September 2020 and a criminal case for treason against the state (Article 356-1 of the Criminal Code) was opened against him. The authorities accused him in connection with the Rabochy Ruch strike initiative and Rabochy Ruch was declared extremist on 21 September 2021. At the same time there were mass detentions of workers across the country. Therefore, Valiantsin was charged again under part 3 of article 361-1 of the Criminal Code (participation in an extremist formation).
All the defendants in the case told the court that they did not admit their guilt of treason and creation of an extremist group and refused to testify. On 27 December, the trial was closed until sentencing, although it had previously been held in public.
Valiantsin Tseranevich has been in detention for almost 1 year and 5 months. All political prisoners in this case face up to 15 years in prison. Valiantsin is recognised by human rights defenders as a political prisoner. The symbolic godfather of Valiantsin is Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, a member of the Swiss National Council and Commission on Legal Affairs.