activist, mother of five, sentenced to 4 years
Date of birth: 7 July 1983
Date of detention: 18 March 2021
Art. 342 of the Criminal Code — Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code — Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
Sentence: 4 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Prison sentence start date: 12 April 2022
Judge: Anastasiya Papko
Prosecutor: Zhanna Baranava
Prison: Penal colony No. 4
Godparent: Terry Reintke, member of the European Parliament
Volha Zalatar is an activist and volunteer in Ždanovičy near Minsk. She was an observer in the 2020 elections. Volha graduated from the BSU's Lyceum and the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of BSU. She has five minor children.
Volha was detained on March 18 when she was taking her 10-year-old daughter to a music school. GUBAZIK officers stopped her car around and escorted her home. A search was carried out there, after which Volha was taken to a remand prison, and later transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 1.
The press service of the Minsk regional police reported that the woman was detained for her "active protest activity", as she was the administrator of a local chat and organized unauthorized mass events: tea parties, walks, and concerts.
On March 29, Volha was charged with "creating an extremist formation or leading such a formation or a structural unit within it" (Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code).
On March 31, the Partyzanski District Court rejected Volha's lawyer's appeal against the detention order. She remains in the Minsk remand prison No. 1 on Valadarski Street.
On November 15, Volha's trial began in the Minsk City Court.
On December 3, the judge Anastasiya Papko found Volha guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code: Part 1 of Art. 361-1 (creating an extremist formation), parts 1 and 2 of Art. 342 (organizing actions that grossly violate public order and training others to do that), part 1 of Art. 16 of Art. 342, part 1 (assisting in organizing actions that grossly violate public order) and sentenced to 4 years in prison, which is one year less than the prosecutor Zhanna Baranava required.
On March 11, 2022 Judge of the Supreme Court Aliaksei Rybakou considered the appeal of Volha and upheld the verdict of the Minsk City Court.