Protesters clash with riot police during an opposition rally in Minsk early on December 20, 2010. Belarus police arrested hundreds of protestors as they used force to break up a mass demonstration against the expected re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in disputed polls on Sunday. AFP PHOTO/ VIKTOR DRACHEV


Three years ago, on 19 December 2010, presidential elections were held in Belarus. For the fourth consecutive year Alexander Lukashenko came out as the official winner. On the evening of the election day, a peaceful mass demonstration was formed in the center of Minsk to protest against the ballot rigging and for free and fair elections.

Up to 40,000 people gathered on Independence Square in front of the government building. By massive use of force, this peaceful demonstration was broken up by OMON special units. Still on election night, security forces continued to search through almost all non-governmental organizations.

In the days around the election more than 700 people were arrested, including almost all of the nine opposition presidential candidates. Thus, Socialist presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich has been detained since the election night. He was sentenced to six years in prison. One day before the 2010 presidential election, opposition activist Eduard Lobau was arrested and subsequently sentenced to four years in prison.

Three years after the violent crackdown of the Belarusian protest movement at least 11 people are currently imprisoned in Belarus for political reasons. Libereco calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

The current 11 political prisoners in Belarus are:

  • Ihar Alinevich, detained since 29.11.2010, sentenced to 8 years imprisonment
  • Mikalai Autukhovich, detained since 08.02.2009, sentenced to 5 years and 2 months imprisonment
  • Ales Bialiatski, detained since 04.08.2011, sentenced to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment
  • Mikalai Dziadok, detained since 03.09.2010, sentenced to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment
  • Andrei Haidukou, detained since 13.11.2012, sentenced to 1 year and 6 months imprisonment
  • Eduard Lobau, detained since 18.12.2010, sentenced to 4 years imprisonment
  • Vasil Parfiankou, detained since 05/12/2013, sentenced to 1 year imprisonment
  • Artsiom Prakapenka, detained since 17.01.2011, sentenced to 7 years imprisonment
  • Mikalai Statkevich, detained since 20.12.2010, sentenced to 6 years imprisonment
  • Yauhen Vaskovich, detained since 17.01.2011, sentenced to 7 years imprisonment
  • Uladzimir Yaromenak, detained since 12.11.2013, sentenced to 3 months imprisonment