Wednesday 9/29/21
BELARUS

Activist Latypov sentenced to 8 years in prison in Belarus

The human rights organization Viasna has classified him as a victim of judicial arbitrariness in Belarus
FILED - 15 September 2020, Belarus, Minsk: Activist Stepan Latypov is carried away by masked police officers in his residential district in Minsk. A court in Belarus has sentenced political prisoner Stepan Latypov, who attempted suicide in court in June, to eight and a half years in a prison camp under particularly harsh conditions. Photo: Ulf Mauder/dpa.
Activist Stepan Latypov is carried away by masked police officers in his residential district in Minsk in 2020. Photo: Ulf Mauder/dpa.

A court in Belarus has sentenced political prisoner Stepan Latypov to eight and a half years in a prison camp under particularly harsh conditions.

The controversial sentence for the 41-year-old, who attempted suicide in court in June, was handed down on Monday. He is alleged to have resisted arrest in September last year.

The small businessman was also accused of helping to organize the protests against strongman ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

A reporter had documented his arrest on September 15, which Latypov did not resist. He had been standing in the street at the time during a peaceful action.

The human rights organization Viasna has classified him as a victim of judicial arbitrariness in Belarus.

Political prisoners

There are more than 600 political prisoners in the country who had protested in 2020 against Lukashenko, who is criticized as "Europe's last dictator."

The activist had always denied the judiciary's accusations. According to a statement by Viasna, the judge Alexander Volk followed the request of the prosecutor Vladimir Ryabov with the verdict and also imposed a fine of 8,700 Belarusian roubles (3,485 dollars).

In his closing statement, Latypov had complained of beatings by the security forces.

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