former employee of Grodno Azot, sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment
Date of birth: 13 June 1985
Date of detention: 18 September 2021
Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code — Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
art. 188 of the Criminal Code — Defamation
Art. 356 of the Criminal Code — High treason
Sentence: 15 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony
Judge: Aliaksandr Piskunou
Prison: Pre-trial detention center No. 3
Statement on the status of a political prisoner
Godparent: Rachael Maskell, member of the UK Parliament
Uladzimir Zhurauka is a former operator of the Ammonia-3 workshop at Grodno Azot, a major Belarusian nitrogen compounds and fertilizers producer.
He was arrested on September 18, 2021, as a defendant in a criminal investigation into 'high treason' (Article 356 of the Criminal Code) involving several employees of the Belarusian factories who supported local strikes in 2020 and were members of the Rabochy Rukh labor rights group. On September 21, 2021, that initiative was labeled as an "extremist" one, which entailed arrests of workers across the country. Besides, Uladzimir Zhurauka was charged with Article 188 ('Defamation'), and Part 3 of Article 361-1 ('Creation of an extremist formation and participation in it') of the Criminal Code.
He was placed in the KGB remand prison in Minsk and then transferred to remand prison #3 in Homieĺ.
On November 9, 2022, the Homieĺ Regional Court began the trial of the Rabochy Rukh case involving ten political prisoners. On the second day of the trial, all the defendants refused to admit their guilt in high treason and the creation of an extremist formation. All the defendants refused to testify at the trial. From December 27, the trial was held behind closed doors until the verdict was passed, although, before that, it had been held in open mode.
On February 17, 2023, the court delivered the verdict. Judge Aliaksandr Piskunou found Uladzimir Zhurauka guilty under all of the above articles and sentenced him to 15 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony.
Rabochy rukh group members receive 11 to 15 year in jail for high treason and creating extremist group
The Homieĺ Regional court pronounced the verdict to the members of Rabochy rukh (Workers' Movement) group accused of high treason and creating and participating in an extremist organization.