Belarus: Anarchist Prisoners

As part of the ongoing International Week of Solidarity With Anarchist Prisoners, a correspondent rounds up the four main cases of anarchists who have been detained by the Lukashenko dictatorship.

Large numbers of other arrests have been taking place over the last week, which are being charted on the Dissidentby Telegram page. Most of these have involved multi-day detentions, intimidation and the like.

Two anarchists, Mikita Jemialjanaw (Никита Емельянов) and Ivan Komar (Иван Комар) are currently serving sentences in Belarus. They have already gotten four and three-and-a-half years in prison respectively. They were captured on October 29th 2019 and accused of throwing a light bulb containing paint (the damage was evaluated as 143 rubles, 22 kopecks, roughly £40.56) at the Minsk City Court and throwing a Molotov (damage was evaluated as 1 ruble, 48 kopecks, or 42 pence) at a remand prison. Komar initially cooperated with the investigation, so some anarchists just don’t mention him at all, but has since said he did it under pressure and changed his statement when he came to court.

Two other people were captured more recently, on August 12th of this year. Their names are Alexandr Frantskevitch (Александр Францкевич) and Akihiro Hanoda (Акихиро Ханодa). Dissidentby, which works with the Belarusian anarchist prisoners, says Frantskevitch is suspected of involvement in inciting “mass disorder” (article 293 part 1 of Belarusian Criminal Code) carrying a possible sentence of 5-15 years, while the Anarchist Black Cross-Belarus thinks Hanoda could be accused of the same crime, but it’s only a guess. Meduza Media claimed he might be a citizen of Japan. But little information is available.

Frantskevitch has in the past been strongly critiqued by some groups for his (violent) behaviour towards other anarchists (“toxic, destructive” and so on), so not all anarchists are supporting him.

Emelyanov and Hanoda are being supported through the ABC-Belarus website, which is also co-ordinating fundraising for them (write the name of prisoner with the transaction), and on Telegram. All four can be supported through the DissidentBY group and financial support can be given via PayPal to [email protected] (you’ll need to write the name of the prisoners in the payment description).

Both groups have their controversies, but I don’t know other anarchists groups supporting prisoners in Belarus. There are also civil rights organisations offering some juridical and financial support for political prisoners.

You can check info through other anarchist sites such as Pramen, Nihilist, avtonom, MikolaDziadok and ParisBurns.


Write a letter

ABC Belarus has set up a simple online form for letter-writing. Send your message and they will translate and print it out for the prisoner. Komar and Frantskevitch are not included in this system, but enquiries can be made via Dissentby.