blogger, author of the YouTube channel "Country for Living"
Date of birth: 18 August 1978
Date of detention: 29 May 2020
Part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code — Organization of riots
Art. 342 of the Criminal Code — Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Art. 191 of the Criminal Code — Obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Art. 411 — Malicious disobedience to the demands of administration of the correctional institution
Sentence: 19 1/2 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a high security prison
Prison sentence start date: 8 July 2022
Judge: Mikalai Dolia, Ivan Hrynkevich
Prosecutor: Dzianis Mikushau
Prison: Pre-trial detention center No. 8
Godparent: Radoslaw Sikorski, member of the European Parliament
Siarhei Tsikhanouski is a vlogger, author of the YouTube channel "Country for Living". He was detained on May 29 during a picket organized in Hrodna to collect signatures for the nomination of his wife Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. As a result of a series of provocative actions, Tsikhanouski and several other campaign activists were arrested by riot police.
On June 8, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, along with six other detainees, was charged under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (disturbing public order). He later faced an additional charge under Article 191 of the Criminal Code (obstructing elections).
In late November, Tsikhanouski faced a new charge after six months of his pre-trial detention expired on November 28. The vlogger is accused of “incitement of racial, national, religious or other social enmity or hatred committed by a group of persons or, through negligence, which entailed the death of a person or other grave consequences”.
On March 11, 2021, the Investigative Committee said that it had completed the criminal investigation against Siarhei Tsikhanouski.
As a result, Tsikhanouski faced final charges under four articles of the Criminal Code:
- Part 1 of Art. 293 (organization of mass riots);
- Part 3 of Art. 130 (incitement to social hostility);
- Part 2 of Art. 191 (obstruction of the CEC);
- Part 1 of Article 342 (organization of actions that grossly violate public order).
The most severe article is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
On December 14, 2021, Siarhei Tsikhanouski was sentenced to 18 years in a medium-security penal colony.
On 11 August 2022, Judge Zhanna Pushkina of the Kastryčnicki District Court of Mahilioŭ decided to increase the political prisoner's custody level and transfer him to a high-security prison for three years. Tsikhanouski was transferred from penal colony #15 to to prison #8 in Žodzina. On August 19, he was placed in the 'penalty isolator' cell, from which he was released only two months later.
On November 4, 2022, the Ministry of Internal Affairs included Tsikhanouski in the 'List of persons involved in extremist activities'.
According to human rights defenders, the defendants in the Tsikhanouski case will have to pay a compensation of BYN 22 mln (approx USD 8,255,160 as of January 2023)—as stated in the court decision, 'to pay employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for additional time on duty during the post-election protests'.
In mid-January 2023, a new case was opened against Tsikhanouski under Part 2 of Art. 411 of the Criminal Code ('Malicious disobedience to requirements of penal facility administration'). The trial began on February 14 in the court of Žodzina. On February 27, 2023, Judge Ivan Hrynkevich found the political prisoner guilty and sentenced him to 18 more months of imprisonment, in addition to the 18 years.