GENEVA (30 May 2023) – UN experts today called on Belarusian authorities to immediately release all prisoners in the country detained on spurious charges for exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression.

“The practice of incommunicado detention of members of the political opposition and prominent figures sentenced to lengthy prison terms for voicing dissent increased in 2023,” the experts said.

The Viasna Human Rights Centre reported that 1,511 people have been detained on politically motivated charges since widespread protests swept the country in 2020. It has also documented an average of 17 arbitrary arrests and detentions a day.

While Belarusian prisons are notorious for substandard conditions, civil society organisations continue to document the systematic discriminatory placement of persons detained on politically motivated grounds in even harsher conditions than the general prison population.

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