former investigator, sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment
Date of birth: 27 April 1993
Date of detention: 1 February 2022
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Art. 179 of the Criminal Code — Illegal collection and dissemination of information about private life
Sentence: 7 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony
Prison sentence start date: 27 March 2023
Judge: Anzhela Kastsiukevich
Prison: Penal colony No. 3
Godparent: Claude Raynal, Member of the French Senate
Mikita Starazhenka is a former investigator who resigned after the election as a sign of protest. He was arrested on February 1, 2022, in a shopping mall in Minsk.
Mikita is charged with inciting hatred by a group of persons under Part 3 Article 130 of the Criminal Code. In a video, published in a pro-government Telegram channel, he says that he had sent the contacts of two employees of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK) and the deputy head of the Investigative Committee for Minsk to one of the “protest Telegram channels”.
On May 4, 2021, Starazhenka, like other security officers who resigned in protest, was stripped of his rank of first lieutenant of justice in the reserve by Lukashenka. After his dismissal, Mikita worked as a lawyer. Last April he got 15 days of administrative imprisonment for "unauthorized picketing".
The trial began on November 15, 2022, in Minsk Municipal court. Starazhenka was tried for “inciting social hatred” (part 3 of Art. 130 of the CC) and “collecting and disseminating information about private life” (part 1 of Art. 179 of the CC).
On December 2, 2022, Judge Anzhela Kastsiukevich sentenced him to seven years in a medium-security penal colony, as requested by the prosecutor. The political prisoner was also ordered to pay 5,000 Belarusian rubles (approx. US$ 2,000) for moral compensation to the officers whose data were leaked.
Last May Lukashenka stripped of military and special ranks more than 80 former officers of law enforcement bodies, who joined the independent association of security forces ByPOL or supported protests. Viasna collected names of former law enforcement and military officers who spoke out against Lukashenka's regime and who are persecuted by the state. Most of them are recognized as political prisoners.