founder of bychange.me project; sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment
Date of birth: 21 July 1989
Date of detention: 19 April 2021
Part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code — Organization of riots
Art. 342 of the Criminal Code — Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Art. 364 of the Criminal Code — Violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies
Art. 369 of the Criminal Code — Insulting a government official
Art. 368 of the Criminal Code — Insulting the President of the Republic of Belarus
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Sentence: 11 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony
Prison sentence start date: 10 April 2023
Judge: Alena Ananich
Prison: Penal colony No. 3
Statement on the status of a political prisoner
Yauhen Yushkevich is a former police investigator and an Android developer and initiator of the bychange.me project. He was detained on November 24, 2020 in Minsk. His apartment was searched.
Yauhen was suspected of organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order - Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code.
On December 4, Yushkevich was released from pre-trial detention.
In April 2021, Yushkevich was re-arrested and faced terrorism charges.
On November 15, 2022, the trial of Yushkevich began in the Minsk City Court. He was charged under six articles of the Criminal Code: Part 1 of Art. 342 ('Active participation in actions grossly violating public order'); Part 1 Art. 293 (riots); Part 1 Art. 368 (insulting Lukashenka); Part 1 Art. 130 ('Incitement of other social enmity or hate'); Art. 369 ('Insulting a government official'); Art. 364 ('Violence or threat of violence against a law enfrecement officer'). The article on 'an act of terrorism', under which Yushkevich was initially detained, did not appear in the case. At first, the trial was open, but almost immediately Judge Alena Ananich made it a closed one.
On December 26, the political prisoner was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment in an enhanced regime colony.
Who are former law enforcers persecuted for speaking out against Lukashenka
Last May Lukashenka stripped of military and special ranks more than 80 former officers of law enforcement bodies, who joined the independent association of security forces ByPOL or supported protests. Viasna collected names of former law enforcement and military officers who spoke out against Lukashenka's regime and who are persecuted by the state. Most of them are recognized as political prisoners.