employee of BMZ, sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment
Date of birth: 23 January 1987
Date of detention: 18 September 2021
Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code — Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
Art. 356 of the Criminal Code — High treason
Sentence: 14 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony
Judge: Aliaksandr Piskunou
Prison: Penal colony No. 1
Godparent: Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, Member of the French Senate
Aliaksandr Hashnikau is an employee of Belarusian Steel Works (BMZ).
He was arrested on September 18, 2021, as a defendant in a criminal investigation into 'high treason' (Article 356 of the Criminal Code) involving several employees of the Belarusian factories who supported local strikes in 2020 and were members of the Rabochy Rukh labor rights group. On September 21, 2021, that initiative was labeled as an "extremist" one, which entailed arrests of workers across the country. Besides, Aliaksandr Hashnikau was charged under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code ('Creation of an extremist formation and participation in it').
He was placed in a remand prison.
On November 9, 2022, the Homieĺ Regional Court began the trial of the Rabochy Rukh case involving ten political prisoners. On the second day of the trial, all the defendants refused to admit their guilt in high treason and the creation of an extremist formation. All the defendants refused to testify at the trial. From December 27, the trial was held behind closed doors until the verdict was passed, although, before that, it had been held in open mode.
On February 17, 2023, the court delivered the verdict. Judge Aliaksandr Piskunou found Aliaksandr Hashnikau guilty under the above articles and sentenced him to 14 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.