Belarus: dissident rock band gets correctional labor

A district court in Minsk sentenced a dissident Belarusian rock band to two and a half years of correctional labor on April 12 after members were convicted of participation in group actions that violated "public order," according to human rights group Mayday Team. The band members have been behind bars since their arrest in January.

The three members of the band, Nizkiz, were found guilty under Article 342 of the Criminal Code in a trial that began on March 19. Judge Alena Zhivitsa convicted Alyaksandr Ilyin, Siarhei Kulsha and Dzmitry Khalyaukin in the Kastrychnytsky district court for their participation in anti-government protests in 2020. On top of their sentence of two and half years labor, the three were also added to the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs' list of extremists.

The members of Nizkiz have been in the eyes of Belarusian authorities since 2020, when protests erupted after President Alexander Lukashenko secured his sixth term in office, through evident fraud. Authorities used violence against protestors and arrested thousands. Nizkiz released a song entitled "Rules," which became an anthem of the protest movement. The band also filmed a music video at one of the demonstrations. Belarusian rights organizations have declared the band members political prisoners.

The Viasna Human Rights Center estimates there are currently 1,387 political prisoners in Belarus, including protesters, bloggers, and campaigners for opposition presidential candidates. The majority of these prisoners were detained following the disputed elections in 2020.

From Jurist, Apri 14. Used with permission.