Yauhen Merkis

journalist, sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment

Date of birth: 8 November 1986

Date of detention: 13 September 2022

Charges indicted:

Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code — Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
Art. 361-4 of the Criminal Code — Promoting extremist activities

Sentence: 4 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony

Prison sentence start date: 9 September 2023

Judge: Aliaksei Khlyshchankou

Prison: Penal colony No. 17

Yauhen Merkis is a journalist who covered the protests after the 2020 presidential election. He was repeatedly arrested by the police, fined, and detained for 24 hours. After a number of the Belarusian independent media outlets were recognized as extremist formations, Merkis chose to engage in local lore activities.

On 13 September 2022, the apartment of Yauhen Merkis in Homieĺ was searched, his storage media were seized, and he was arrested.

Merkis was charged under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code ('Supporting extremist activities').

It is known that when in remand prison #3 in Homieĺ, he was placed in a punishment cell for four days because he had allegedly not shaved his beard.

The trial of the political prisoner began on May 11, 2023, in the Homieĺ Regional Court, and was held behind closed doors.

On May 30, 2023, Judge Aliaksei Khlyshchankou found Yauhen Merkis guilty under Part 3 of Article 361-1 ('Creating an extremist group or participating in it') and Parts 1 and 2 of Article 361-4 ('Assisting extremist activity') of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to four years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.

On September 9, 2023, Yauhen was sent to penal colony № 17 in Shklou.

Mail address: Penal colony No. 17. 213004, Škloŭ, vulica 1-ja Zavodskaja 8

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