Vasil Berasnieu

trade union activist, sentenced to 9 years in prison

Date of birth: 22 January 1950

Date of detention: 19 April 2022

Charges indicted:

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. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred

Sentence: 9 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony

Prison sentence start date: 3 April 2023

Judge: Anastasiya Papko

Prosecutor: Raman Biziuk

Prison: Penal colony No. 15

Godparent: Detlef Müller, member of the German Bundestag

Vasil Berasniou

Vasil Berasnieu leads the Orša Radio-Electrical Manufacturing Workers' Trade Union (REM) as the deputy chairman. He was arrested on April 19, 2022, as a defendant in a criminal case.

In the remand, his health deteriorated significantly. He suffers from pain in his only kidney.

On November 25, 2022, the trial of the trade union leaders began in the Minsk City Court. Vasil Berasnieu was accused of "calling for restrictive measures aiming to harm the national security of  Belarus" (Part 3 of Article 361), "inciting other social hatred or enmity" (Part 3 of Article 130), and "creating an extremist formation or participating in it" (Part 1 and Part 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code). Judge Anastasiya Papko agreed to the proposal of the prosecutor Raman Biziuk and held the trial behind closed doors.

On December 27, the verdict was expected, but Judge Alena Papkova unexpectedly announced that the trial of the trade union activists would be postponed due to newly revealed circumstances, and asked everyone to leave the courtroom. The reasons for such a decision are still unknown.

On January 5, 2023, the verdict was handed down: activists of the Belarusian independent trade unions were found guilty. Judge Anastasiya Papko sentenced Vasil Berasnieu to nine years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony. Soon the political prisoner was transferred from remand prison #1 in Minsk to prison #4 in Mahilioŭ.

The Supreme Court considered an appeal against the sentence. On April 3, 2023, the court panel headed by Judge Piotr Listratsenka dismissed the appeals and upheld the verdict.

Mail address: Penal colony No. 15. 213105, Mahilioŭ, Viejna, Slaŭharadskaja šaša 183

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