Pavel Belavus

Culture manager, sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment

Date of birth: 22 August 1987

Date of detention: 15 November 2021

Charges indicted:

Art. 342 of the Criminal Code — Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Art. 361 of the Criminal Code — Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus
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: 13 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony

Judge: Zhanna Brysina

Prison: Penal colony No. 17

Godparent: Jerry Buttimer, Member of the Irish Parliament

On the list of “terrorists” (money transfers are prohibited)

Pavel Belavus is a cultural manager, the founder and former director of the Art Siadziba cultural initiative, the creator of the Symbal.by national symbols and souvenirs store, and one of the organizers of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Belarusian People's Republic in Minsk in 2018. He is married and has two children.

Belavus was arrested on November 15, 2021, after being summoned to the police. He was sentenced under administrative charges three times (for 15, 13, and 7 days of arrest), after which he was transferred to a pre-trial detention center.

Belavus is charged under Article 342 of the Criminal Code ('Participation in group actions that grossly violate public order'). In June 2022, he was also charged under Article 361-1 ('Creating an extremist formation'), and in August—under Article 356 ('High treason').

As the Investigative Committee reported in early January 2023, Belavus 'under the guise of cultural and historical development, was spreading the ideas of Belarusian nationalism on various public social networks and websites, the purpose of which was to change the state power in Belarus'. Allegedly, he 'stimulated the hostility of his compatriots towards the Motherland'. 'With his criminal actions, Belavus has endangered the external and internal security of the state for ten years'.

As a result of the investigation, Belavus was charged under Part 1 of Article 356 ('High treason'), Part 1 Article 342 of the Criminal Code ('Participation in group actions that grossly violate public order'), Part 3 of Art. 361 ('Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus'), and Part 1 of Article 361-1 ('Leading an extremist formation').

On February 20, 2023, the judicial panel of the Minsk City Court started the trial of Pavel Belavus in the building of the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk. Initially, the trial was to be open. However, at the very beginning of the first court session, the state prosecutor announced a request for the case to be heard behind closed doors "in order to prevent the disclosure of information posted in sources recognized as extremist". The court granted the request.

On May 11, 2023, the Minsk City Court sentenced Pavel Belavus to 13 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony and 500 basic fines (18,500 Belarusian rubles or approx. $5,885).

On June 14, 2023, the KGB added the political prisoner to the "list of terrorists".

Pavel Belavus is serving his sentence in penal colony #17 in Škloŭ, Mahilioŭ region.

Cultural activist Pavel Belavus receives 13 years in jail

On May 11, 2023, the Minsk Municipal court announced a sentence for political prisoner and cultural manager Pavel Belavus, the founder of the Symbal.by store... The prosecution accused him of “promoting Belarusian nationalism”, “anti-state activities”, and “inciting hatred among fellow citizens against their homeland”. He was also accused of “leading an extremist formation”, the Belarusian Council of Culture. However, at the time when the Council of Culture was recognized as an “extremist formation” Belavus had been detained for seven months. Judge Zhanna Brysina passed the sentence. The trial was held in a closed session; hence, the defendant's position and other details remain unknown.

 

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

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