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Sentences handed down to trade union activists in the case of "Rabochy Rukh"

All 10 defendants were charged with "high treason" (Part 1, Article 356 of the Criminal Code) and "establishing an extremist organisation" (Part 3, Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code).

Sentences handed down to trade union activists in the case of "Rabochy Rukh"
Participants of the "Rabochy Rukh" movement

On 9 November, the trial of ten political prisoners who are members of "Rabochy Rukh" movement started in the Gomel regional court. On 17 February Judge Aliaksandr Piskunau pronounced the verdict:

Siarhei Shelest - 14 years in prison; Uladzimir Zhurauka - 15 years in prison; Andrei Paheryla - 14 years in prison; Hanna Ablab - 11 years in prison; Aliaksandr Hashnikau - 14 years in prison; Siarhei Dziuba - 12 years in prison; Ihar Mints - 12 years in prison; Valiantsin Tseranevich - 12 years in prison; Siarhei Shametka - 12 years in prison; Aliaksandr Kapshul - 15 years in prison.

In addition, fines ranging from 100 to 500 basic units are stipulated for those convicted. Among the convicted there are 6 activists of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union.

All of the involved were charged with "high treason" (part 1 of article 356 of the Criminal Code) and "establishment of an extremist organization" (part 3 of article 361-1 of the Criminal Code). Kapshul was additionally charged with "illegal actions in relation to firearms" (part 2 of article 295 of the Criminal Code). Shelest, Zhurauka and Paheryla are additionally charged with "slander" (Article 188 of the Criminal Code).

During the court hearings, all ten defendants pleaded not guilty to treason. Also during the trial in the "Rabochy Rukh" case, one of the defendants, Aliaksandr Kapshul, went on a hunger strike to protest violations of the law while in custody in the Gomel pre-trial detention center.

"Rabochy Rukh" was founded in 2020. It brought together Belarusian workers, including leaders and activists of strikes and trade unions.


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