Yauhen Afnahel

activist of the European Belarus opposition group, sentenced to 7 years in prison


Date of birth: 7 February 1979

Date of detention: 25 September 2020

Charges indicted:

Part 3 of Art. 293 of the Criminal code — Training or other preparation of persons for participation in mass riots, or financing of this activity
Part 1 of Article 13 and Article 293 of the Criminal Code — Preparation for mass riots

Sentence: 7 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a high security prison

Judge: Iryna Lanchava

Prison: Prison No. 4

Godparent: Verena Hubertz, member of the German Bundestag (Social Democratic Party)

Yauhen Afnahel

Yauhen Afnahel is a coordinator of the European Belarus opposition group. He was a founder and activist of the Zubr youth opposition movement. For his exclusively peaceful and public oppositional activity, the government repeatedly subjected him to repression—fines, administrative arrests, beatings, intimidation, and pressure.

After the events of 2010, Yauhen Afnahel had to live in exile for a long time but eventually returned to Belarus and continued his political activity.

He was arrested on September 25, 2020, as a defendant in a criminal case, after law enforcers stormed his apartment. On October 1, Afnahel was charged under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code ('Rioting'). He was held in remand prison #1 in Minsk.


On May 25, 2021, the Mahilioŭ Regional Court announced the verdict in the criminal trial involving seven political prisoners: the co-chair of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Pavel Seviarynets, blogger Dzmitry Kazlou, community activist Iryna Shchasnaya, and the European Belarus activists Yauhen Afnahel, Pavel YukhnevichMaksim Viniarski and Andrei Voinich.  The trial began on May 12 and was held behind closed doors, since, as explained in court, “the case file belongs to a secret protected by law". Judge Iryna Lanchava sentenced Yauhen Afnahel to 7 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony, Seviarynets and Voinich. Yukhnevich, Kazlou, and Viniarski were sentenced to 5 years, and  Shchasnaya was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment.


Yauhen Afnahel faces pressure in the penal colony. On January 19, 2022, he was placed in a punishment cell for 10 days, and after that, he informed his relatives that he would soon be placed there again. The reasons why the political prisoner is punished are unknown. Besides, the administration of the penal colony deprived Afnahel of a short visit by his relatives. The political prisoner spent a month and a half in a punitive solitary confinement cell. In early March he wrote in a letter to his wife that he was placed in a tighter-security cell for about a month and would be transferred to a "closed" prison for three years. Besides, the shopping amount for essentials was reduced for him to 32 Belarusian rubles per month.

On April 12, 2022, in the court of Navapolack (Viciebsk region), Judge Iryna Zharova ruled to change the punishment level for Yauhen Afnahel to the prison regime for 24 months. The trial was held via video messenger. The political prisoner was transferred from Penal Colony #1 in Navapolack to Prison #4 in Mahilioŭ.

During his imprisonment, Yauhen Afnahel's vision deteriorated, so he has to wear glasses. Behind bars, he reads and draws a lot. He is only allowed to phone his relatives once a month.

4 to 7 years in prison: opposition activists, blogger convicted in Mahilioŭ

The Mahilioŭ Regional Court announces today its verdict in a criminal trial involving seven political prisoners: co-chair of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party Pavel Seviarynets, blogger Dzmitry Kazlou, community activist Iryna Shchasnaya, and European Belarus activists Yauhen Afnahel, Pavel Yukhnevich, Maksim Viniarski and Andrei Voinich.


Mail address: Prison No. 4. 212011, Mahilioŭ, vulica Krupskaj 99A

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