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Woman human rights defender Nasta Loika transferred to pre-trial detention center and faces criminal charges

Status: 
Detained
About the situation

On 24 December 2022, Belarusian law enforcement officials transferred woman human rights defender Nasta Loika to pre-trial detention center No.1 in Minsk. The woman human rights defender is being charged with at least two articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, one of them concerns the violation of public order, while the second one remains unknown at the moment.

On 14 December 2022, woman human rights defender Nasta Loika was sentenced to another 15 days of administrative detention for “petty hooliganism” (Article 19.1 of the Cove of Administrative Offences) by the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus. This is the sixth time in the past four months, and the fourth detention in a row for the woman human rights defender.

On 29 November 2022, for the fifth time in a period of three months, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus, sentenced woman human rights defender, Nasta Loika to another 15 days of administrative detention under “petty hooliganism” charges. Nasta Loika was initially scheduled to be released from her previous administrative detention on 26 November 2022. However, her colleagues reported that on her scheduled day of release they had no news about Nasta Loika’s whereabouts. The woman human rights defender is now scheduled to be released on 14 December 2022.

On 31 October 2022, the Pieršamajski District Court in Minsk, Belarus sentenced woman human rights defender Nasta Loika under “petty hooliganism” charges under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences to 15 days of administrative arrest. What prompted the charge was not reported. Prior to this sentence, on 28 October 2022, Nasta Loika was arbitrarily detained by security forces in Minsk, allegedly, for extremism charges. This was the third time the woman human rights defender was sentenced on the same charge since September 2022.

About the HRD

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender. In her human rights work, Nasta Loika has been focusing on repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and on the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. The woman human rights defender has also been working in the field of human rights education. In the summer of 2021, Belarus authorities shut down the organization Nasta Loika used to work with, Human Constanta, which promoted public interests and joint actions in response to modern challenges in the field of human rights, as a part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

3 January 2023
Woman human rights defender Nasta Loika transferred to pre-trial detention center and faces criminal charges

On 24 December 2022, Belarusian law enforcement officials transferred woman human rights defender Nasta Loika to pre-trial detention center No.1 in Minsk. The woman human rights defender is being charged with at least two articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, one of them concerns the violation of public order, while the second one remains unknown at the moment.

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender working in the field of human rights education. She has also worked on the use of repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and advocates the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. In the summer of 2021, Belarusian authorities shut down the organisation where she previously worked - Human Constanta - which promoted public interest and joint actions in response to current challenges in the field of human rights. The shut down was part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

On 24 December 2022, Belarusian law enforcement officials transferred woman human rights defender Nasta Loika to pre-trial detention center No.1 in Minsk. She is being charged with at least two articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. One of them concerns “organization of group activities that gravely violate public order and include the obvious disobedience to the legal requirements of the government officials or the activities that have led to the disruption of the work of the public transit, enterprises, institutions, and organizations, or active participation in such action in the absence of the signs of a more serious crime” as envisioned by the Article 342.1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. The second charge remains unknown at the moment. On the first charge alone, Nasta Loika can face up to 4 years in prison.

Since 28 October 2022, Nasta Loika has remained in detention. The woman human rights defender has faced four consecutive and six overall administrative arrests for “petty hooliganism”. During Nasta Loika’s administrative detention, she was denied her right to access legal support and to receive medication, and warm clothes while in detention. Nasta Loika reported that while in detention, she was exposed to torture and inhumane treatment. Moreover, her mother’s home was raided, and colleagues suspect that this was an act of pressure against Nasta Loika. Belarus human rights defenders reported, that while woman human rights defender was in the Akrestina Detention Center, she was forced to remain in the courtyard without any outwear for 5-6 hours. Nasta Loika also wanted to declare a hunger strike, but the detention centre guards refused to provide her with a paper and a pen to write a statement.

Front Line Defenders condemns the charges against Nasta Loika and her placement in pre-trial detention. Front Line Defenders condemns the physical and psychological violence perpetrated against the woman human rights defender while in detention. The persistent charges and arrests of Nasta Loika reflect the increasing attacks against Belarus's human rights defenders and civil society by Belarusian authorities. Front Line Defenders call for the immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika and for an end to these repeated attacks against her.

21 December 2022
Woman human rights defender Nasta Loika sentenced for 15 days of detention for “petty hooliganism” for the fourth time in a row

On 14 December 2022, woman human rights defender Nasta Loika was sentenced to another 15 days of administrative detention for “petty hooliganism” (Article 19.1 of the Cove of Administrative Offences) by the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus. This is the sixth time in the past four months, and the fourth detention in a row for the woman human rights defender.

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender working in the field of human rights education. She has also worked on the use of repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and advocates the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. In the summer of 2021, Belarusian authorities shut down the organisation where she previously worked - Human Constanta - which promoted public interest and joint actions in response to current challenges in the field of human rights. The shut down was part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

On 14 December 2022, woman human rights defender Nasta Loika was sentenced to another 15 days of administrative detention for “petty hooliganism” by the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus. The Court hearing took place online. Nasta Loika was scheduled to be released on 12 December 2022, yet on the day, her colleagues reported that she was not released and her whereabouts were unknown.

The colleagues of the woman human rights defender also reported that the UN Human Rights Committee registered a complaint against Belarus and adopted interim measures in Nasta Loika’s case. The complaint was filed under Articles 9 - right to liberty and security of a person (arbitrary detention) and 14 - right to fair trial of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under rule 94 of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party has been requested to provide Nasta Loika with immediate access to independent and adequate medical care, including a transfer to a relevant medical facility if necessary, providing her with the seasonally appropriate clothes,and to ensure that her life, physical and mental integrity are safeguarded, while her case is under consideration by the Committee.

This is the fourth consecutive and the sixth overall administrative arrest for “petty hooliganism” against Nasta Loika in 2022. During her previous periods of administrative detention, the woman human rights defender was denied her right to access legal support and to receive medication and warm clothes while in detention. Nasta Loika reported that while in detention, she was exposed to torture and inhumane treatment. Moreover, her mother’s home was raided and colleagues suspect that this was an act of pressure against Nasta Loika.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the repeated arrest and detention of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika. Front Line Defenders condemns the physical and psychological violence perpetrated against the woman human rights defender while in detention. The persistent charges and arrests of Nasta Loika reflect the increasing attacks against Belarus's human rights defenders and civil society by Belarusian authorities. Front Line Defenders call for the immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika and for an end to these repeated attacks against her.

1 December 2022
Woman human rights defender Nasta Loika sentenced to another 15 days of detention for “petty hooliganism”

On 29 November 2022, for the fifth time in a period of three months, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus, sentenced woman human rights defender, Nasta Loika to another 15 days of administrative detention under “petty hooliganism” charges. Nasta Loika was initially scheduled to be released from her previous administrative detention on 26 November 2022. However, her colleagues reported that on her scheduled day of release they had no news about Nasta Loika’s whereabouts. The woman human rights defender is now scheduled to be released on 14 December 2022.

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender working in the field of human rights education. She has also worked on the use of repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and advocates the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. In the summer of 2021, Belarusian authorities shut down the organisation where she previously worked - Human Constanta - which promoted public interest and joint actions in response to current challenges in the field of human rights. The shut down was part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

On 29 November 2022, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, once again sentenced Nasta Loika to 15 days of administrative detention under “petty hooliganism” charges under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences. On 28 November 2022, at 10 am Minsk time, the premises of Nasta Loika’s mother’s home were raided by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus officials. The Directorate is responsible for investigating criminal cases, however the woman human rights defender’s colleagues suspect that this was an act of pressure against Nasta Loika. At this stage it is unclear, whether Nasta Loika continues to be exposed to torture in detention.

This is the third consecutive and the fifth overall administrative arrest for “petty hooliganism” against Nasta Loika in 2022. During her previous periods of administrative detention, the woman human rights defender had no access to legal support and was denied the right to receive medication and warm clothes while in detention. Nasta Loika reported that previously, while in detention, she was exposed to torture and inhumane treatment.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned about the repeated arrest and detention of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika, as well as troubling reports of physical and psychological violence that the woman human rights defender has been subjected to while in detention. Front Line Defenders also condemns the targeting of Nasta Loika’s mother. Front Line Defenders believes that the woman human rights defender is being repeatedly targeted for her peaceful human rights work in Belarus and for her refusal to leave the country. The persistent charges and arrests of Nasta Loika reflect the increasing attacks against Belarus's human rights defenders and civil society by Belarusian authorities. Front Line Defenders call for the immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika and for an end to these repeated attacks against her.

16 November 2022
Nasta Loika sentenced to another 15 days of administrative arrest for “petty hooliganism”

On 14 November 2022, the Pershamaiski District Court in Minsk, Belarus, once again sentenced woman human rights defender Nasta Loika to 15 days of administrative detention under “petty hooliganism” charges. Nasta Loika was initially scheduled to be released from her previous administrative detention, that commenced on 28 October 2022, on Saturday 12 November. However, the colleagues of the woman human rights defender reported that on the day of release they had no news about Nasta Loika’s whereabouts.

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender working in the field of human rights education. She has also worked on the use of repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and advocates the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. In the summer of 2021, Belarusian authorities shut down the organisation where she previously worked - Human Constanta - which promoted public interest and joint actions in response to modern challenges in the field of human rights. The shut down was part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

On 14 November 2022, the Pieršamajski District Court in Minsk once again sentenced Nasta Loika to 15 days of administrative detention under “petty hooliganism” charges, Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences. The prosecution stated that Nasta Loika, while being held in one of the offices of the Pieršamajski Disctrict Depatment of the Ministry of Interior, shouted and behaved aggressively and defiantly, therefore violating public order and “showing obvious disrespect for society.”

During the Court hearing that Nasta Loika attended virtually, the woman human rights defender stated that she was exposed to physical and psychological violence during her detention. She was brought in for interrogation twice by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus officials, where she was once electrocuted with a stun gun. Nasta Loika also reported that on 11 November 2022, one of the officials from the Isolation Center forced her to stay in the yard without any coat for 8 hours, causing her a severe cold.

This is the second consecutive and the fourth overall administrative arrest for “petty hooliganism” against Nasta Loika in 2022. During her previous administrative detention, the woman human rights defender had no access to legal support and she was denied the right to receive medication and warm clothes while in detention. Nasta Loika’s colleagues reported that, despite the fact that detention center accepted the medications sent to the woman human rights defender, the parcel never reached her. The detention center officials continue to refuse to accept warm clothes and personal hygiene items for Nasta Loika.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned about the continuous arrests and detention of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika, as well as horrific report of physical and psychological violence that the woman human rights defender is exposed to while in detention. Front Line Defenders believes that the woman human rights defender is being repeatedly targeted for her peaceful human rights work in Belarus and for her refusal to leave the country. The persistent charges and arrests of Nasta Loika is part of the increasing attacks against Belarus's human rights defenders and civil society by Belarusian authorities, and calls for immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika.

31 October 2022
Woman human rights defender Nasta Loika sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest under “petty hooliganism” charges

On 31 October 2022, the Pieršamajski District Court in Minsk, Belarus sentenced woman human rights defender Nasta Loika under “petty hooliganism” charges under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences to 15 days of administrative arrest. What prompted the charge was not reported. Prior to this sentence, on 28 October 2022, Nasta Loika was arbitrarily detained by security forces in Minsk, allegedly, for extremism charges. This was the third time the woman human rights defender was sentenced on the same charge since September 2022.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Nasta Loika is a prominent Belarusian woman human rights defender working in the field of human rights education. She has also worked on the use of repressive “anti-extremist” laws, and advocates the protection of the migrants and stateless people rights in Belarus. In the summer of 2021, Belarusian authorities shut down the organisation where she previously worked - Human Constanta - which promoted public interest and joint actions in response to modern challenges in the field of human rights. The shut down was part of an orchestrated attack against the civil society in the country.

On 31 October 2022, Nasta Loika was sentenced by the Pieršamajski District Court in Minsk, Belarus to 15 days of administrative detention for “petty hooliganism” under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences. The trial took place online with a lawyer present, but what prompted the charge was not reported. Nasta Loika is now detained in Akrestina detention centre in Minsk.

On 28 October 2022, at 2pm, the woman human rights defender was arbitrary detained by security forces in Minsk. At 6pm, one of the state-affiliated telegram channels published a video, where Nasta Loika, was handcuffed, and “confesses” that she received funding from foreign organisations. The officials accuse the woman human rights defender of “aiding extremism,” a criminal offence under Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. In the video, woman human rights defender, admits to her participation in peaceful protests, confirmed that she worked for Human Constanta, a human rights organization that was shut down by the Belarusian Government. Working for an organisation that has been shut down is a criminal offence under Belarusian law. Nasta Loika also admitted on camera that Human Constanta received funding from Amnesty International. The post, published along with the video, suggests that receiving such funding designates the organisation as part of “the collective West sponsoring a revolution in Belarus.” The officials in the video calls the woman human rights defender a “famous fraudster.” On the same day, Nasta Loika’s apartment was raided by officials from the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Belarus, and her equipment was confiscated.

Nasta Loika has repeatedly faced retaliation for her human rights work. Since 6 September 2022, she has been sentenced to two consecutive administrative detentions based on petty hooliganism charges. During her previous administrative detention, the woman human rights defender had no access to legal support and she was denied the right to receive medication and warm clothes while in detention.

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned about the continuous arrest and detention of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika. Front Line Defenders believes that the woman human rights defender is being repeatedly targetted for her peaceful human rights work in Belarus. The persistent charges and arrests of Nasta Loika is part of the increasing attacks against Belarus's human rights defenders and civil society by Belarusian authorities, and calls for immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Nasta Loika.