Uladzimir Tsurpanau

Opposition activist; served full term; released

Date of birth: 19 April 1962

Date of detention: 5 February 2021

Charges indicted:

Art. 391 of the Criminal Code — Insulting a judge

Sentence: 2 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a high security prison

Date of release: 19 January 2023

Judge: Aliaksandr Khaladtsou, Dzmitryi Sasnouski

Prosecutor: Mikhail Androsenka

Uladzimir Tsurpanau is an opposition activist based in Mahilioŭ.

During an administrative trial in September 2020, Tsurpanau allegedly insulted Judge Viktoryia Paliakova of the Lieninski District Court, and on October 14, in similar circumstances, he reportedly verbally attacked Judge Volha Krauchanka of the Kastryčnicki District Court. As a result, the activist faced two criminal charges.

On December 24, Judge Khaladtsou of the Mahilou District Court sentenced Tsurpanau to three years of restricted freedom in an open-type penal facility under Art. 391 of the Criminal Code ('Insulting a judge or lay judge"). 

In early February, the activist was sent to serve his sentence in open penitentiary #46 in Kruhlaje.

However, on March 16, 2021, it became known that Tsurpanau was placed in the pre-trial detention center of prison #4 in Mahilioŭ. He faced new charges under Art. 415 of the Criminal Code ('Evasion from serving a sentence of restriction of freedom'). The convict allegedly “committed a number of violations of the order and conditions of serving the sentence". In particular, he was lying on his bed at an unauthorized time and failed to make his bed.

Tsurpanau wrote on his Facebook page that the case was opened against him for refusing to do poorly paid work assigned by the prison authorities and demanding a salary corresponding to the minimum amount guaranteed by the state.

On June 4, the political prisoner was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony. The defendant pleaded not guilty, saying that "there was no investigation into his case". The trial took place at the Kruhlaje District Court chaired by Judge Dzmitry Sasnouski. The state prosecution was represented by the district prosecutor Mikhail Androsenka.

In early February 2022, it became known that the administration of penal colony #3 put pressure on Tsurpanau. He was placed in a punishment cell, but the exact period and reasons were unknown. Besides, his relatives receive no letters or calls from him for about two months.

According to human rights defenders, on April 20, 2022, the Viciebsk Region Court considered the case of Tsurpanau "on transfer to a different type of a correctional institution and changing the regime". The political prisoner was transferred to the prison regime. Even his wife was not informed about the court session. The decision in the case was made by Judge Mikhail Zubenia. It is known that Tsurpanau was placed in a cell in the penal colony.

In early May 2022, Tsurpanau was transferred from penal colony #3 to Prison #1.

The political prisoner served his full term and was released on January 19, 2023.


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