Aliaksandr Yarashuk is the Chairperson of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU), an association of several independent trade unions, he is currently languishing in a Belorussian penal colony following a staged trial on trumped up charges.
On April 19th, 2022, his workplace and apartment were searched and his electronic equipment was confiscated. Yarashuk was arrested and placed in pre-trial detention center. According to the preliminary information, he was charged with Article 342 of the Criminal Code (‘group actions that grossly violate public order’).
In late November, it became known that a new charge was brought against Yarashuk – calls for sanctions against Belarus (Part 3 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code). He faced 4 to 12 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Yarashuk openly opposed the introduction of harsh sanctions against Belarus. According to the sources of the Narodnaya Volya independent media, certain information was found in his computer confiscated by law enforcers during the search.
On December 20th, 2022, the City Court of Minsk began the trial of his case. On December 26th, the verdict was passed: Aliaksandr Yaroshuk was sentenced to four years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony. This is the very punishment the prosecution asked for.
On 29 September 2023 at the 54th UN Human Rights Council, the UK government issued the following statement: “Delegates of the Human Rights Centre Viasna have been arbitrarily detained in Belarus for their work defending human rights, including through their engagement with UN human rights mechanisms. Belarusian trade union leader, Aliaksandr Yarashuk, was arrested for his work, including submitting information to the International Labour Organization.”
Viasna is a non-governmental human rights organization, created in 1996 during mass protest actions of the democratic opposition in Belarus. Viasna was initially a group created to help the arrested rally participants and their families.
PHOTO: “RADIO SVABODA“