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Well-known artist and political prisoner dies in Belarus

Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 16:10
Well-known artist and political prisoner dies in Belarus

A political prisoner and well-known artist, Aleksandr "Ales" Pushkin, has died in Belarus under unknown circumstances. 

Source: human rights centre Vyasna, the Belarusian edition of Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty

Details: On 11 July, Pushkin's wife reported that he died in intensive care under unknown circumstances.


Pushkin was detained on 30 March 2021, in the village of Žyličy, Kiraŭsk District, Mahilioŭ Oblast, by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.

As stated in the Belarusian Prosecutor's Office, the reason for initiating a criminal case was the placement of a portrait of Yevhen Zhikhar, a participant of the Belarusian anti-Soviet movement, with an assault rifle on his shoulder, by the artist Ales Pushkin at his exhibition on 19 March. According to the prosecutor's office, during the exhibition, Pushkin "characterised Zhikhar as a person from the Belarusian resistance, a fighter against the Bolsheviks, glorifying and approving his actions".

At the end of November 2021, it became known that the artist was sent for a psychiatric evaluation. In mid-December, Ales returned to pretrial detention facility SIZO-1.

On 22 December 2021, the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus completed the investigation and indicted Pushkin under two articles of the Criminal Code: Art. 130.3 (deliberate actions for the rehabilitation of Nazism committed by a group of persons) and Art. 370 (insult to state symbols).

It is known that on 25 March 2022, Pushkin cut his stomach.

On 30 March 2022, the court found Pushkin guilty and sentenced him to five years in a high-security prison.

During the announcement of the verdict, Ales spoke loudly and undressed to show the cuts on his stomach in the form of a cross. For this, he was placed in solitary confinement for 13 days.

On 15 April 2022, Ales Pushkin was transferred from SIZO-1 to correctional colony No 22. In August 2022, it became known that the administration of the correctional institution placed the political prisoner in solitary confinement for five months.

According to human rights activists, on 11 November 2022, the judge decided to transfer Pushkin to prison for a period of one and a half years. Soon, the political prisoner was transferred to Grodno Prison No 1.

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