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Union lawyer sentenced in absentia to 5 years in jail

On June 17, 2024, the Homyel Regional Court concluded the trial in absentia of the former political prisoner and union lawyer Leanid Sudalenka. The new criminal case against him was opened under the “special proceedings” regulation in November 2023. Leanid was charged with “aiding extremist activity”.

The Court found Leanid guilty and sentenced him under Part 1 Article 361-4 of the RB CC to three years in jail and a fine in the amount of 500 reference units which amounts to BYN 20,000. Leanid was also found guilty of repeatedly aiding and abetting extremist activity under Part 2 Article 361-4 of the RB CC, which is punishable with imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of 650 reference units or BYN 26,000.

Choosing the harsher of the two sentences, the Court ultimately sentenced Leanid to 5 years in a high security prison and a fine in the amount of 650 reference units.

The case has been tried by the Judge Anatolyi Sotnikau.

Leanid Sudalenka is a well-known human rights defender and lawyer who headed the Homyel branch of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. He worked as the legal officer of the Belarusian Radio and Electronics Workers’ Union (REP). He was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his activities. Upon his release from prison in 2023, he left Belarus.

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