Ales Pushkin

artist, sentenced to 5 years, died while in custody on 11 July 2023

Date of birth: 6 August 1965

Date of detention: 30 March 2021

Charges indicted:

Art. 370 of the Criminal Code — Desecration of state symbols
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred

Sentence: 5 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a high security prison

Judge: Alena Shylko, Aliaksandr Kirylovich

Prosecutor: Aliaksandr Karol

Died in prison

Godparent: Camilla Hansén, member of the Swedish Parliament

Ales Pushkin. Photo:

Ales Pushkin is a well-known Belarusian artist. On March 30, 2021, he was arrested by the Interior Ministry officers in the village of Žyličy in the Kiraŭsk district, Mahilioŭ region. On the night of March 26 and 27, 2021, his house was searched. 

On March 26, the Hrodna city prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case against Ales Pushkin and Pavel Mazheika, head of the Center for Urban Life in Hrodna, together with other individuals, for “deliberate actions aimed at rehabilitating and justifying Nazism” (Part 3 of Art. 130 of the Criminal Code, “incitement to hatred”). Pavel Mazheika was detained but later released without a charge.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the reason for the criminal case was a portrait of Yauhen Zhykhar with a machine gun on the shoulder by artist Ales Pushkin exhibited at the Center for Urban Life on March 19. According to the prosecutor’s office, during the exhibition, Ales Pushkin “characterized Zhykhar as a man of the Belarusian resistance, a fighter against the Bolsheviks, by which glorified and approved of his actions.”

In late November 2021, it became known that the artist was sent for a psychiatric examination. In mid-December 2021, Ales Pushkin returned to remand prison #1 in Minsk.

On December 22, 2021, the Investigative Committee completed the investigation and charged Ales Pushkin under two articles of the Criminal Code: Part 3 of Article 130 ('Intentional actions to rehabilitate Nazism committed by a group of persons') and Article 370 ('Desecration of the state symbols'). On January 12, 2022, the case was transferred to the prosecutor's office.

The trial of Ales Pushkin began on March 10, 2022. Judge Alena Shylko considered the case in closed hearings. It is known that on March 25 Ales Pushkin cut his stomach in prison.

On March 30, 2022, the court found Ales Pushkin guilty and sentenced him to 5 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony. During the announcement of the verdict, Pushkin spoke loudly and undressed so that the cuts on his stomach in the shape of a cross could be seen. For this, he was placed in a punishment cell for 13 days.

On April 15, 2022, Ales Pushkin was transferred from remand prison #1 in Minsk to penal colony #22 in the Brest region. In August 2022, it became known that the penal colony administration placed the political prisoner in a tighter security cell for 5 months.

According to human rights defenders, on November 11, 2022, Judge Aliaksandr Kirylovich ruled to transfer Ales Pushkin to the prison regime for 18 months. Soon the political prisoner was transferred to prison #1 in Hrodna.

On the night of July 11, 2023, Ales Pushkin died in an intensive care unit due to untimely medical care for a perforated ulcer.

Human rights community of Belarus joint statement on the death in custody of the artist Ales Pushkin

New details of the persecution of artist Ales Pushkin: charges over iconic performance restaging and solitary confinement in pre-trial detention

In a solemn event in July, Ales Pushkin, a 57-year-old political prisoner and renowned artist, passed away in an intensive care unit, having been transferred there from the Hrodna prison. The subsequent discovery of a perforated ulcer—an ailment left untreated in prison—raised questions about his treatment during incarceration. Pushkin had arrived at the hospital unconscious, and, despite surgical attempts to save him, he suffered a heart stoppage on the operating table. Ales Pushkin's art and performances were the catalysts for his criminal charges. The controversial pieces displayed at his Hrodna exhibition, combined with a performance in Kyiv shortly before his arrest, were cited in the case against him. Human rights defenders of Viasna continue to collect information about Pushkin's persecution, imprisonment, and death.

Political prisoner and artist Ales Pushkin dies in prison at 57

Late last night, 57-year-old political prisoner Ales Pushkin died in intensive care in unclear circumstances. This was reported by his wife Yanina Dziomukh.

Both persecuted artist Ales Pushkin: what is known about prosecutor and judge in Viasna case

Artist Ales Pushkin sent to psychiatric hospital for examination

A well-known artist, participant of international exhibitions, author of flash mobs and performances, Ales Pushkin, has been sent to a psychiatric hospital in Navinki for examination, Belsat has learned.



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