The law "On Amendments to Codes on Criminal Liability" was signed by the President of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko.
As noted by Novaya Gazeta, the innovations come into force in three months. Several new articles and new corpus delicti were added to the Belarusian Criminal Code.
So, if a person “repeatedly violates the procedure for holding” mass events - that is, if within a year after drawing up two administrative protocols a person receives a third similar penalty, he faces up to three years in prison. In Russia, a similar punishment was introduced in 2014. The so-called "Dadinskaya" article 212.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (by the name of the first activist convicted on it, Ildar Dadin) for "repeated violation of the established procedure for organizing or holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picket" is applied if a person was brought to administrative responsibility three times in 180 days. The sanction of the article provides for up to 5 years in prison.
The Belarusian Criminal Code also introduces a punishment of up to four years of restriction of liberty or from two to six years in prison for “participating in an extremist formation and facilitating extremist activities, undergoing training in such activities”.
Another repressive innovation of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus is the distribution of “prohibited information” by the owner of the Internet resource. If a person is caught in this within a year after being brought to administrative responsibility, he faces up to two years in prison.
In addition, the penalties for “illegal” collection and dissemination of personal data, non-compliance with the requirements for their protection are being tightened; for the "rehabilitation of Nazism", for the "illegal" receipt of information constituting state secrets for the purpose of disseminating it (in the absence of signs of treason or espionage).
At the same time, the responsibility for the murder of a police officer is being tightened (the minimum punishment is increased from 10 to 12 years in prison); for resistance to "persons protecting public order"; for publicly “insulting” a government official or his relatives; for organizing a gross violation of public order, for public calls for illegal mass events and for deliberate blocking of transport communications.
In May, Lukashenko signed amendments to the laws on media and public events. From now on, the media is prohibited from broadcasting live and generally covering unauthorized actions in any way. It is forbidden to publish the results of political opinion polls conducted without special accreditation, as well as to post hyperlinks to “prohibited” information. Residents of the country are now prohibited from using crowdfunding methods to pay fines issued for violating the procedure for holding mass events.
The new repressive laws in Belarus are the result of a serious exacerbation of the internal political situation after the presidential elections in August 2020. The results of the elections, in which Lukashenko was awarded the victory for the sixth time in a row, were considered by many citizens of the country to be falsified. This led to mass protests and rallies, the main demands of which were the resignation of Lukashenko, the holding of new fair elections and the release of political prisoners. The rallies were accompanied by atrocities and unjustified cruelty on the part of law enforcement officials, who carefully concealed their faces from citizens. In response to such actions, a campaign was launched in the country to de-anonymize the atrocious security forces. However, the authorities began to block the dissemination of such information.
At the end of May, on Lukashenko’s order, an Athens-Vilnius plane, in which the founder of the opposition Telegram channel Roman Protasevich, was flying, was forcibly landed in Minsk. Protasevich was removed from the plane and sent to a pre-trial detention center, and then showed on state channels footage with his "confessions" of alleged crimes. At the same time, traces of torture were visible on Protasevich's face. After such "confessions" Lukashenko threatened Protasevich with the death penalty. Such actions of the Belarusian president caused extreme indignation of the international community.