Leaders of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions sentenced

Leaders of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions sentenced

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Solidaires (CM)


3 other trade union leaders were to be sentenced on 27 December but ...

On 27 December, the Minsk City Court was waiting for the sentencing of activists of independent Belarusian trade unions - political prisoners Genadz yu Fyadynych y , Vasyl y Berasnev y and Vatslav y Oreshka . But something went wrong... Judge Alena Papkova unexpectedly announced that due to recently revealed circumstances the trial of the activists was postponed and asked everyone to leave the courtroom. The reasons for this decision are still unknown.


On 26 December, the Minsk court delivered a verdict in the criminal case against the activists of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions - Alexander Yarashuk, his deputy Siarhei Antusevich and the accountant Iryna But-Husaim. They were charged with acts seriously undermining public order (part 1, art. 342), and Yarashuk was also charged with calling for actions aimed at undermining the national security of the Republic of Belarus (part 3, art. 361).

The trial was conducted by Judge Valyantsina Zyankevich. All defendants have been in detention since 19 April 2022.

Political prisoner Alexander Yarashuk is the President of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions. The BCDP federates several independent professional unions. It includes the Belarusian Free Trade Union (BFTU), the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers (FTU), the Belarusian Union of Radio and Electronic Workers (REP) and the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP). On 19 April 2022, Alexander Yarashuk's workplace and home were searched and equipment was confiscated. He was arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention centre. He was charged under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (collective actions that seriously violate public order).

Political prisoner Siarhei Antusevich is vice-president of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions. For a long time - almost 10 years - he headed the independent trade union "Hrodna Azot". He was arrested on 19 April 2022 and placed in the KGB pre-trial detention centre. On the same day, searches were carried out in the BKDP office and in Serhiy Antusevich's flat. Sergei is remanded in custody

Political prisoner Iryna But-Husaim is an accountant at the office of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions. She was arrested on 19 April 2022 in connection with a criminal case and placed in a pre-trial detention centre.

All defendants at the trial pleaded guilty. The trial started on 20 December and the verdict was delivered today.

Alexander Yarashuk was sentenced to four years in prison under the general regime, Siarhei Antusevich - two years and Iryna But-Husaim - one year and six months in prison.

Previously, by decision of the Supreme Court, the activity of the BKDP had been banned in connection with the facts of violation of the Belarusian Constitution.

The sentencing of other Belarusian independent trade union activists - political prisoners Gennady Fyadynych, Vasil Berasnev and Vatslav Oreshko - is expected on 27 December.

26 December 2022

Published by вясна

Translation Patrick Le Tréhondat


December 20 message

The regime in power in Belarus is methodically destroying trade unionism in that country. We have already published several reports on this subject:

Let us also recall the very courageous statement of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) at the very beginning of the war in Ukraine:

No nation in the world wants war. The Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples are no exception. Few peoples in the world have suffered such terrible losses and sacrificed the lives of tens of millions of their citizens in their history as our three peoples did, peoples who are so close to each other. And the fact that the Russian government has started a war against Ukraine today cannot be understood, justified or forgiven. The fact that the aggressor invaded Ukraine from the territory of Belarus with the consent of the Belarusian authorities cannot be justified or forgiven.

Irreparable things have happened, and their long-term consequences affecting the lives of several generations will poison relations between Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. On behalf of the members of the independent trade unions of Belarus, the workers of our country, we bow our heads to you, our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. We apologize to you for the shame, the shame that the Belarusian government has imposed on all Belarusians, having become an ally of the aggressor and having opened the border with Ukraine for it.

However, we want to assure you, dear Ukrainians, that the vast majority of Belarusians, including workers, condemn the reckless actions of the current Belarusian regime which tolerates Russian aggression against Ukraine. We demand an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as well as from Belarus.

In this difficult, fateful time we declare that our minds and hearts are together with you, dear Ukrainians. We wish you to withstand and win.

Long live Belarus! Glory to Ukraine!

The "trial" of three of the national leaders of the trade union organisation, Aliaksandr Yarashuk, President of the BKDP, Siarei Antusevich, Vice President, and Irina Bud-Husaim, Treasurer, began on 20 December. Our comrades have been in prison for months, deprived of sleep for days.

The trade union organisations that are members of the International Trade Union Solidarity and Struggle Network salute the courage of the BKDP activists and denounce these baseless trials. Trade union solidarity is also reflected in the messages from the Ukrainian trade unions and the presence of a delegation from the Russian trade union organisation KTR, another sign of great courage.


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