Detained Since: May 31, 2020
Charges: Conspiracy to promote "mass unrest"
Sentence: 14 years in prison.
Biography: Mikola Statkevich is a politician and former presidential candidate who has been wrongfully detained since 2010 as a result of his peaceful struggle for free and fair elections in Belarus. Prior to his arrest, Mr. Statkevich played an active role in Belarus’s pro-democracy political opposition. Mr. Statkevich served as the head of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party and Free Belarus, a political opposition coalition in Belarus. In 2010, Mr. Stratkevich ran as an opposition presidential candidate. Following the elections, on December 19, 2010, Mr. Statkevich joined thousands of protesters peacefully demonstrating against election fraud in downtown Minsk. Mr. Statkevich was one of hundreds of protesters arrested when police violently dispersed the protest. Following his arrest, he was placed in a KGB pre-trial prison and later charged under Article 293.1 of the Criminal Code for “organizing mass disorder”. On May 26, 2011, the Leninski District Court of Minsk sentenced Mr. Statkevich to six years imprisonment in a high security penal colony. At trial, no proof of violent attacks during the demonstration was presented.
At various times during his detention, Mr. Stratkevich’s communication with his family has been restricted and he has been threatened with new sanctions for violating prison rules. Mr. Stratkevich’s wife, Maryna Adamovich, attributes the tough measures against her husband to his refusal to apply for a pardon in protest of his innocence.
On May 31, 2020 Stratkevich was once again arrested ahead of mass protests in Belarus. On December 14, 2021 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.