Alexander Otroschenkov (Аляксандр Атрошчанкаў, Александр Отрощенков, also transliterated as Alyaksandr Atroshchankau or Aleksandr Atroshchenko) is a Belarusian political activist and journalist. In 2011 he was sentenced to four years in prison after he covered a protest rally as a journalist. He was listed by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.
History of activismEdit
He was a member of the Zubr movement of youth. In 2001 he was arrested after the police took a Zubr badge off of his jacket at a soccer game. In the same year he was arrested and charged with Article 156 of the Belarusian penal code, "petty hooliganism", after the police confiscated Zubr flags from his friends and arrested 15 people.
He was the press secretary for the Zubr movement. He was one of many people charged with "slandering the president" (Article 367, par. 1 of the penal code) around the time of the 2001 Belarusian presidential election. The Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations said he felt his treatment was related to the invitation he had received from Amnesty International to travel to Germany. In mid-2002 he was jailed for 5 days for participating in the protests of April 19 in the same year.
Elections of 2010 & prison sentenceEdit
During the Belarus presidential election campaigns of 2010, he was the press secretary for candidate Andrei Sannikov. Sannkov's previous press secretary, Oleg Bebenin, had been found hanged; the government claimed it was suicide but his friends suspected otherwise.
On December 19, 2010 Atroshchankau was working as a journalist covering the mass protests of the election results. Many of these protests took place at Nezalezhanstsi Square in Minsk. He was working for Lithuanian Delfi, a news portal. He was one of several hundred people arrested on December 19/20, and one of a few dozen eventually charged with offenses by the government. Amnesty International put him on a list of many Belarusian prisoners of conscience arrested during the protests. Daria Korsak, his wife, has stood picket outside of the KGB building in Minsk.
Atroshchankau was charged with violating part 2 of article 293 of the Belarus penal code (organizing and taking part in mass riot). The court also alleged that he was "part of the mob" and "forcefully tried to burst into the House of Government". According to Belsat TV he pleaded not guilty.
The trial lasted from March 1 to March 2. It was in the court for the Frunzenski district of Minsk. The judge was Cherkas Tatsiana Stanislavauna and the prosecutor was Tatsiana Maladtsova. Atroshchankau's trial was held at the same time as Aliaksandr Malchanau and Dzmitry Novik.
On March 2, Atroshchankau was sentenced to four years in prison. The Human Rights Centre Viasna wrote that the sentence was "politically motivated and unlawful". It also claimed that the evidence against Atroshchankau and others did not show any violation of article 293.
At the time of his arrest he was a student of International Law (Международное право) at the European Humanities University. The University said that it would work to help him with his education despite the circumstances.
On 14 September 2011 Atroshchankau was released along with 10 other political prisoners by a resolution of the president. According to Atroshchankau, he did not appeal for a release.
- video of Atroshchankau in the Belarus courtroom (link at delfi.lt)
- 4 years in prison for Andrei Sannikov’s press-secretary, Charter 97, 2011.3.2, retrieved from charter97.org on 2011.3.16
- U.S. Condemns Belarus Crackdowns, Rejects Election Results, Katya Andrusz and Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg / Businessweek, 2010 12 22, with Lyubov Pronina, Nicholas Johnston, Anastasia Ustinova, James Neuger and Hellmuth Tromm. Ed: Balazs Penz, Leon Mangasarian. retrieved from www.businessweek.com on 2011 03 16
- Belarus Updates, 2002, v 4 no 15 Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Edited by Victor Cole, retrieved from www.ilhr.org on 2011 03 16
- Belarus Updates, 2001, vol 4 no 33 Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Edited by Victor Cole, which cites Viasna Human Rights Center, August 17. retrieved from www.ilhr.org on 2011 03 16
- Belarus Updates, 2001, v 5 no 7 Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine , INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Edited by Victor Cole, retrieved from www.ilhr.org on 2011 03 16
- His specific charge came in January 2002.
- WEEKLY BULLETIN OF EVENTS IN MASS-MEDIA OF CIS COUNTRIES ISSUE NO. 2, JANUARY 21 - 27, 2002, Irada Guseinova, Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, retrieved from www.cjes.ru on 2011 03 16
- Belarus Updates, 2002 v 5 no 17-18 Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Edited by Victor Cole, retrieved from www.ilhr.org on 2011 03 16
- Journalist dömed till 4 års fängelse Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine, Mar 3, 2011, Isabel Sommerfeld, Info Belarus retrieved from infobelarus.nu on 3.16.11
- Vyzvalenne: Torture is used against political prisoners, charter 97 2011.2.25 retrieved from charter97.org on 2011 03 16
- Atroshchankau pleads not guilty, Charter 97, onliner.lt, retrieved from www.onliner.lt on 2011 03 16
- Belarus Charges 31 Over Election Protests - Ministry, Today's Market News - TD Ameritrade January 11, 2011 (Dow Jones) research.tdameritrade.com on 2011 03 16
- Harding, Luke (September 8, 2010). "Belarus under pressure to investigate death of media activist Oleg Bebenin". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
- Analysis of the criminal trial of Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, Aliaksandr Malchanau and Dzmitry Novik - The Human Rights Center 2011.3.4 Viasnard, retrieved from spring96.org on 2011 03 16
- Document - Belarus: Demand release of Belarusian activists: Further information - Amnesty International 31 January 2011, Amnesty International, retrieved from www.amnesty.org on 2011 03 16
- Alyaksandr Atroshchankau: “I ask you to be strong and courageous", Charter 97, 2011.2.24, retrieved from charter97.org on 2011.3.16
- Opposition spokesman's wife pickets KGB building in Minsk Russia & CIS Business and Financial Newswire, 19-JAN-11, reprinted in - Goliath Business News, retrieved from goliath.ecnext.com on 2011 03 16
- EГУ обеспокоен судьбой Александра Отрощенкова Archived 2011-03-17 at the Wayback Machine, European Humanities University, 11 3 10, retrieved from ehu.lt 11.3.16
- Студенты и преподаватели ЕГУ ожидают приговора Константин Амелюшкин, ru.DELFI.lt, 15 3 2011 retrieved from Delfi (web portal) on 3 16 2011