Viktar Pilzhys


Date of birth: 5 June 1984

Date of detention: 13 October 2022

Charges indicted:

Art. 369 of the Criminal Code — Insulting a government official
art. 188 of the Criminal Code — Defamation
Art. 203-1 of the Criminal Code — Illegal actions with respect to information about private life and personal data

Sentence: 2 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony

Prison sentence start date: 13 October 2022

Viktar Pilzhys lives in the village of Shchorsy, Navahrudak district, Hrodna region. He was accused of sharing a post regarding the police from a local protest Telegram channel on his personal page in social media. For reposting this message, Pilzhys was accused (and later convicted) under three articles of the Criminal Code at once:

  • Art. 188 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus ('Slander')
  • Part 3 of Art. 203-1 of the Criminal Code ('Illegal actions related to information about private life and personal data, committed against a person in connection with the performance of their official duties')
  • Art. 369 of the Criminal Code  ('Insulting a government official')

Before the trial, Pilzhys was placed under house arrest as a preventive measure, effective since September 12, 2022. This means that Pilzhis was forbidden to leave the house, use the Internet and communications (except in emergency).

On October 13, 2022, he was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment in a penal colony. His case was heard by the Karelichy district court, Hrodna region.

In addition to the two year imprisonment, the court ordered Pilzhys to pay BYN 10,000 (approximately USD 3,875) to two law enforcement officials as a compensation for their moral damage.

Viktar Pilzhys tried to appeal against the verdict, but it was left unchanged.

He was included in the list of citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons involved in extremist activities.

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