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Ten years of imprisonment: Supreme Court dismisses Aliaksandr Fiaduta’s appeal

30.11.2022 Source: Служба маніторынгу Беларускай асацыяцыі журналістаў

On 29 November, the Supreme Court of Belarus considered the appeal of political scientist Aliaksandr  Fiaduta challenging his sentence for “attempted coup d’etat.” As the human rights activists predicted, the appeal was denied, and the verdict was upheld – 10 years of imprisonment.

Aliaksandr Fiaduta was detained in Moscow on 12 April 2021 and charged with conspiracy to seize state power by unconstitutional means. The accusation was further expanded to crimes such as the organization of actions that grossly violate public order, incitement of social enmity, and encouraging sanctions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka confirmed the detention of “a criminal group of Belarusians and foreigners” who had allegedly been preparing attempts on him and his three sons. In addition to the physical elimination of the “Belarusian leader,” the “intruders, supported by U.S. intelligence agencies,” seem to have been planning an armed mutiny to seize power by force.

On 5 September 2022, Judge of Minsk Regional Court Uladzimir Areshka pronounced the sentence in the high-profile case. The accused columnist Aliaksandr Fiaduta and politician Ryhor Ryhor Kastusyou were sentenced to 10 years in prison each, lawyer Yury Ziankovich – to 11 years, accountant Volha Halubovich and public figure Dzianis Krauchuk – to 2.5 years, respectively.

It is the second time that Aliaksandr Fiaduta has become a political prisoner. He was also arrested during the 2010 presidential campaign and sentenced to 2 years of suspended imprisonment with a probation period of 2 years.

The current stay in prison significantly undermined the physical condition of the 58-year-old political prisoner: he was diagnosed with heart failure and suffered an attack of angina and arrhythmia. Despite this, a year ago, he went on a “medical strike” – he refused to take heart medication, protesting against the correspondence ban and the confiscation of his literary manuscript. As a result, the jail administration had to meet him halfway.