On 28 October 2022, human rights defender Nasta Lojka was detained again. Official reasons for her arrest remain unknown. A “confession video” featuring Nasta appeared in the Telegram channel “Center’s Summaries” (“Сводки Центра” in Russian) – most likely, another channel of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs (GUBOPiK). Other channels of the agency were blocked by Telegram six times, precisely for publishing such “confession videos,” recorded under pressure. In the post, featuring the video, Nasta was called a “famous fraudster” and accused of “aiding extremism.” On the same day a search was conducted in Nasta’s apartment. Her electronic devices were confiscated.
On 31 October 2022, Pershamaiski district court of Minsk found Nasta guilty of “petty hooliganism” under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus and sentenced her to 15 days in jail. It is the third time the human rights defender was found guilty under this article since September 2022 (see Human Constanta’s statements regarding the first and second arrest), after Nasta attended a hearing in “Revolutionary Action” group case. In total, Nasta has already spent 30 days in jail prior to her most recent sentence. Before the present series of arrests, Nasta was a suspect in a criminal case connected to “Viasna” human rights center activities (see respective Human Constanta’s statement).
Another arbitrary detention of Nasta is one of the Belarusian authorities’ tools of pressuring human rights defenders, the work of whom was effectively outlawed. Such actions of Belarusian authorities constitute a blatant violation of international standards of human rights protection, namely the provisions within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Declaration on human rights defenders), OSCE Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, OSCE Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association.
According to the Declaration on human rights defenders (article 1) «Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels». At the same time, the state shall take all necessary measures in order to ensure the protection, with the help of the competent authorities, of any person acting individually and in association with others, from any violence, threats, retaliation, negative discrimination de facto or de jure, pressure or any other arbitrary action in connection with the lawful exercise of his or her rights referred to in the Declaration on human rights defenders.
Human Constanta contacted several special procedures regarding the groundless and politically motivated persecution of Nasta Lojka – namely, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights; the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The submissions inform the mandate holders about the violations of Nasta’s rights, including the right to liberty and security, the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; the right to fair trial; the freedom of expression; the right to be free from discrimination.
Human Constanta continues to call upon international organizations to publicly speak out against the arbitrary detention of Nasta Lojka and violations of her human rights, as well as persecution of other Belarusian HRDs and civil society organizations.