Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

Sevyarynets and Byalyatski have most chances to be released under amnesty


Almost all political prisoners will be released if the authorities use the law on amnesty dated 2010.

"I think, this may concern only Sevyarynets. His sentence is not deprivation of freedom, but restriction of freedom, and he has no reprimands. There is only one moment - amnesty cannot be applied with regard to the people who have already been released under an amnesty once (Pavel Sevyarynets was released under an amnesty back in 2004 - Euroradio). However, there is also a period of limitation - 3 or 5 years", says HR defender from "Vyasna" Valyantsin Stefanovich.

Stefanovich's ally Ales Byalyatski also has a chance to be released under an amnesty. They have already counted the late payment fee for the already paid fine, but the representatives of "Vyasna" filed a claim about this and formally Byalyatski owes nothing to the state now.

"Formally, Ales has no debts. He will have ones in the perspective but we will do our best so that Byalyatski would be subjected to amnesty".

According to Stefanovich, only those figurants of the mass riots case who got sentences on conditional imprisonment (probation) or suspended sentences - Nyaklyaeu, Fyaduta, Palazhanka, Khalip and others - can be released under an amnesty. All the other have nothing to hope for: the so-called violations of the penitentiary regime will not let it happen. All political prisoners who are in custody now have such violations.

Valyantsin Stefanovich makes his conclusions basing on the law on amnesty dated 2010. It is still unknown what this year's variant of the law will be like. Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu's ex-lawyer Tamara Sidarenka thinks that it should not differ much from the previous one.

"Usually amnesties are more or less the same. The conditions for release are also approximately the same. The key issue is violations which may prevent a person from being released. It is also worth it to watch closely under which articles the amnesty is never used".

In Sidarenka's opinion, they may fail to use the amnesty with regard to the "mass riots" article, and in this case many people will not be subjected to the amnesty.

Lawyer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Harry Pahanyayla is even more pessimistic in this regard. He thinks that the authorities will release no political prisoners. All they can do is to shorten the terms or transfer someone from a closed prison to a colony.

"Those who are in prisons may get easing of some requirements in the form of shortening the term of imprisonment, for example. Those who got to prison for the first time may have their term shortened for a year. Some may be transferred to colonies from closed prisons due to the amnesty, some will have an opportunity to apply for release on parole".

We'll see whether the Belarusian authorities will use a perfect opportunity to normalize the relations with the EU. There are only two weeks left before the new law on amnesty is published.