Human rights defender, in custody
Date of birth: 6 January 1989
Date of detention: 28 October 2022
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Sentence: 7 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Judge: Alena Shylko
Prosecutor: Volha Dzindzialevich
Prison: Pre-trial detention center No. 1
Godparent: Ben Chikha, Member of the Belgian Senate
Anastasiya (Nasta) Loika, a human rights defender, was arrested on October 28, 2022. Before that, she served two other administrative imprisonments for 30 days. After Nasta Loika's arrest, a "repentance video" was posted, in which she "admits" that she "received funding from foreign organizations".
On the next day after her arrest, she was sentenced to 15 days of administrative imprisonment under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses ('Petty hooliganism'). After the imprisonment term, Nasta Loika was not released—instead, she was sentenced to 15 days of administrative imprisonment for 'petty hooliganism' again. On November 29, 2022, the human rights defender was again sentenced to 15 days of administrative imprisonment. On December 14, 2022, she was arrested again—for the fourth time in a row.
Nasta's dog Eric is waiting for her.
Nasta Loika is the laureate of the 2022 Belarusian Human Rights Defenders Award in the Human Rights Defender of the Year nomination.
On December 17, 2022, the UN Human Rights Committee registered Nasta Loika's complaint. While the case is under consideration by the Committee, the state is obliged to provide the human rights defender with immediate access to independent medical care and to ensure the preservation of her life and physical and mental health—including by providing clothing suitable for the season.
In late December 2022, Nasta Loika was charged under two articles—one of them is Article 342 of the Criminal Code ('Organization and preparation of actions grossly disrupting public order or active participation in them'). The political prisoner was transferred to remand prison #1 in Minsk.
According to the Human Constanta human rights group, Nasta Loika stated in court that during her arrest, she was twice taken to interviews with officers of GUBAZIK (Interior Ministry's Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption), during which she was once hit with an electric shocker. On November 11, 2022, one of the detention facility employees took her to the courtyard and left her there without outerwear for eight hours. Nasta Loika got very sick. Throughout her detention on Akrescina Street in Minsk, she was deprived of medicines, warm clothes and personal hygiene products.
In mid-February 2023, it became known that Nasta Loika had also been charged under Part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code ('Inciting racial, national, religious or other social enmity and hatred'). The charges stemmed from her alleged participation in the preparation of the report on the persecution of the anarchist community in Belarus in 2018: the report provides a critical assessment of police officers' activities.
Behind bars, Nasta Loika suffers from stomach problems: she is a vegan and therefore she can only eat what she gets in parcels and what can be bought in the remand prison store. It is impossible to ensure adequate nutrition in this way. Besides, Nasta Loika needs to have her teeth treated, but the Investigation Committee did not admit the dentist found for her by her relatives in the remand prison.
The trial of the human rights defender began on June 13, 2023, in the Minsk City Court. The case is being considered by Judge Alena Shylko, with Volha Dzindzialevich as the state prosecutor. Almost since the very beginning of the first court session, the trial has been held behind closed doors, so the details of the criminal case and the position of Nasta Loika are unknown.
On June 20, 2023, Nasta Loika was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment in a general-security penal-colony. Nasta stated that she would appeal against the verdict.
On October 3, 2023, the Supreme Court will consider Nasta's appeal.
On June 13, 2023, the trial of Nasta Loiko, a human rights defender, commenced. She was accused of “inciting hatred” and “insulting the government officials” and now faces up to 12 years in prison. The basis for the criminal case is the report “Persecution of Anarchists, Antifascists, Leftists, and Social Activists in Belarus (2017 – August 2018)”, which took a critical stance on the actions of law enforcement agencies.