Belarus President extends prison terms for public meetings and extremism

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed a law to toughen criminal liability for violation of the rules for conducting mass actions and extremist activities. The document was published on the National Legal Portal of the Republic of Belarus.

The initiative has supplemented the Criminal Code with two new articles: 361.4 (“Promoting extremist activities”) and 361.5 (“Undergoing training or other training to participate in extremist activities”). The maximum punishment under the first article makes up six years in prison, and for the second one - three years.

Lukashenko also expanded prison terms under Article 369.3 ("Violation of the procedure to arrange or hold mass events"). Those convicted under the new article will be sentenced up to five years in prison, and even those who publicly call to take to the streets will be held liable.

Earlier, Lukashenko signed a law that equated journalists covering unauthorized protest actions with participants of those actions. They will face criminal liability if they either broadcast the event or publish information about it.