Jana Polyakova

Jana Polyakova was born in 1973 in Ukraine. Later her parents moved to Salihorsk in the district of Minsk (Belarus). Jana Polyakova graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Belarusian State University. She worked as a lawyer for the law company in Salihorsk and later began cooperation with the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and since 2000, with the human rights organization Legal Aid for Society run by Aleh Vouchak.

Chronicle of repression

On 3 March 2009 the District Court in Salihorsk found Jana Polyakova guilty of the article 400,  part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (deliberate perjury). She was charged with making false statements against the militia officer and sentenced to two and a half years of freedom restriction (Judge Aleksandr Buravcov). She was also ordered to pay 1 million rubles to constable Pugachov, recognized as the victim in the case.

In November 2008, Jana Polyakova announced that she had been repeatedly detained by the militia for her human rights activities. It was reported that the activist was beaten at the militia station, and once her arm was nearly broken.

Repressions against Jana Polyakova began after she became a member of the Volga Kazulin’s team (a daughter of former presidential candidate Aliaksandr Kazulin) during the parliamentary elections of 2008. Jana Polyakova pleaded not guilty. She told later, that the inspector at the police station beat her after she refused to sign a document stating that she did not participate in the collection of signatures for candidacy of Volga Kozulin (by doing so she would deny her engagement in political activity).

In August 2008 Jana Polyakova was ordered by the KGB to appear at the militia station, the activist, however, refused. On 6 March 2009, the newspaper Soviet Belarus has published a defamatory article about Jana Polyakova.

Jana Polyakova committed suicide. She hanged herself. The mother of Jana found the body of her daughter in their home on 7 March 2009. According to witnesses, after the pronouncement of the sentence Jana has repeatedly stated that “she will never become a prisoner.”

Other political prisoners

  • Mikalay Kryvau
  • Siarhiej Vazniak
  • Yury Rubtsou
  • Zmicer Bandarenka
  • Irina Chalip