historian, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment
Date of birth: 28 May 1960
Date of detention: 30 December 2020
Art. 369 of the Criminal Code — Insulting a government official
Art. 366 of the Criminal Code — Violence or threat against an official performing official duties or another person performing a public duty
Part 1 of Art. 285 of the Criminal Code - Creation of a criminal organization or its leadership
Part 1 of Art. 14 and Part 2 of Art. 357 of the Criminal Code — Attempted conspiracy to seize state power by unconstitutional means
Sentence: 20 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony
Judge: Beraziuk Siarhei, Maksim Filatau
Prosecutor: Liudmila Herasimenka, Uladzimir Rabau, Yuliya Shcharbina
Prison: Penal colony No. 2
Uladzimir Hundar is an activist and local historian from Baranavičy and a defendant in a high-profile Autukhovich case. Hundar has a disability. He is charged under Part 1 of Article 285 (Creation of a criminal organization or its leadership) and Part 2 of Article 357 of the Criminal Code (Attempt to seize power in an unconstitutional way). He was held in pre-trial detention center for more than a year in the absence of virtually any procedural actions in the criminal case, which is obviously incompatible with the purposes of a pre-trial detention.
Previously, he was sentenced to three years in prison under Article 366 of the Criminal Code for throwing his own phone on the floor and smashing it during the search, which was qualified by the court as a threat to a public official, which gave grounds to demand a review of his sentence as politically motivated and to recognize him as a political prisoner.
On October 17, 2022, Uladzimir Hundar received 18 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony and a fine of 25,600 Belarusian rubles ($10,100). He was convicted of
- ‘creating a criminal organization’ (Part 1 of Article 285) and
- ‘attempted seizure of state power by unconstitutional means’ (Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 2 of Article 357).
The defendants in the case were political activist Mikalai Autukhovich, priest Siarhei Rezanovich, his wife Liubou Rezanovich, their son Pavel Rezanovich, pensioner Halina Dzerbysh, activist Uladzimir Hundar, activist Volha Mayorava, pensioner Iryna Melkher and her son Anton Melkher, and Iryna Harachkina, Viktar Snehur and Pavel Sava. They have been held behind bars for 22 months. Only two of them fully admitted their guilt. All of them were detained in December–January 2020. The authorities immediately declared Autukhovich the organizer and leader of a “terrorist group” that operated in the Hrodna region and allegedly set police officers’ cars and houses on fire.
The trial lasted five months. The verdict was pronounced on October 17, 2022, in the Hrodna Regional Court. Judge Maksim Filatau imposed jail terms ranging from two and a half to 25 years. Deputy chair of the prosecutor's office Liudmila Herasimenka and senior assistant prosecutor Rabau represented the state prosecution at the trial. The people's assessors were Stavorka, Zhdanovich, and Nichypor.
In mid-December 2022, information arose that a new criminal case had been opened against Hundar under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code for insulting the prosecutor Liudmila Herasimenka.
On March 31, 2023, the Supreme Court considered the appeals of the defendants in the Autukhovich case. The judicial panel chaired by Judge Pavel Karshunovich decided to release Mikalai Autukhovich from the prescribed punishment due to the expiration of the statute of limitations under Article 295-3 of the Criminal Code (Illegal actions with objects, the effect of which is based on the use of flammable substances). They also ruled to release Iryna Harachkina from the prescribed punishment due to the expiration of the statute of limitations under Part 1 of Article 405 of the Criminal Code (Covering a serious crime). As a result, Iryna Harachkina's sentence was reduced by one month, and Mikalai Autukhovich's sentence was left unchanged. As for the rest of the defendants in the Autukhovich case, the court panel dismissed the appeals and upheld the sentences.
On April 17, 2023, Judge Alena Piatrova found the political prisoner guilty of insulting the prosecutor Liudmila Herasimenka, who was prosecuting the Autukhovich case, and sentenced Uladzimir Hundar to another two years and six months of imprisonment as the prosecutor Yuliya Shcharbina requested. The final sentence made 20 years in a medium-security penal colony.
From April 29 to May 6, 2023, Hundar was kept in a punishment cell. On his last day in the punishment cell, his hearing worsened. After he was released from the punishment cell, he had a fever and ague, his head and ears ached. He could not hear his cellmates and realized that he had become completely deaf. Later it became known that his hearing had partially recovered after a doctor's examination and treatment.
On May 12, 2023, the Ministry of Internal Affairs included the political prisoner in the 'List of citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens, or stateless persons involved in extremist activities'.
Uladzimir Hundar is serving his sentence in penal colony #2 in Babrujsk, Mahilioŭ region.
In his last letter, Uladzimir Hundar wrote that he had already been placed in a punishment cell twice, once for four days, and two days after his release for another three days. He assumes that he will shortly be thrown into a punishment cell again, after which there will be a trial to change the punishment level for him from a penal colony to a prison.
Besides, the political prisoner wrote that the hearing he lost in prison has returned to him just partially and he can not hear well.
On October 17, 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court pronounced the verdicts on the high-profile Autukhovich case. The trial lasted five months. Judge Maksim Filatau imposed jail terms ranging from two and a half to 25 years.