Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Student gets 3 years in jail for sending letters to election officials

Raman Karpuk
Raman Karpuk

On August 19, the Maskoŭski District Court of Brest pronounced the verdict against 18-year-old political prisoner Raman Karpuk.

Karpuk, a first-year student at the Brest Pushkin university, was charged with ‘obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights’ under Part 2 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code for sending 99 letters to members of referendum commissions on behalf of ‘political’ judges. The text of the letters contained appeals to count votes honestly, to report violations at polling stations, and a list of articles of the Criminal Code providing liability for faking vote results.Karpuk noted in court that the text of the letters seemed tough to him, but he only wanted the referendum to take place and for the votes to be counted fairly:

“I wanted the referendum to be fair and according to the law. I hoped that addressing the members of the commissions would contribute to this.”

As a result, judge Tatsiana Lauraniuk sentenced the political prisoner to three years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony, as it was requested by prosecutor Paval Krupenich.