Belarusian human rights defender Nasta Loika stands in front of a wall smiling at the camera

Belarus: Sentencing of human rights defender deals ‘devastating blow’ to activist community

Responding to the news that Nasta Loika, a Belarusian human rights defender and educator, has been sentenced to seven years in a penal colony on trumped-up charges following a closed trial, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

“The conviction of Nasta Loika on trumped-up charges following a secretive, sham trial deals a devastating blow to the activist community in Belarus and the human rights situation as a whole. The authorities’ cowardly decision to try her behind closed doors reveals the total lack of legitimacy of her prosecution and the extent of the violations of her right to a fair trial. Loika is a courageous activist and educator who has worked tirelessly to promote and protect human rights in Belarus. She must be immediately and unconditionally released.

“There are also serious fears for Nasta Loika’s health and safety, and this latest secretive trial raises further concerns. The Belarusian authorities must urgently stop using the country’s criminal justice system as a tool to silence state critics, including Loika and other human rights defenders who are facing a similar fate.

“The Belarusian authorities must immediately order an investigation into prisoner of conscience, Nasta Loika’s arbitrary detention and allegations that prison officials tortured her, as reported last year. Any officials who are reasonably suspected of committing or being complicit in these crimes must be brought to justice in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty.


Nasta (Anastasia) Loika is a prominent human rights defender. She has previously documented the use of repressive “anti-extremist” legislation in Belarus, worked to protect foreign nationals and stateless persons in the country, and offered education on human rights.

On 6 September 2022, Loika was arbitrarily detained as she was leaving Minsk City Court after attending a hearing in the trial against fellow human rights defenders Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapyuk, and their eight co-defendants.

Loika was initially placed in “administrative detention” for purported “petty hooliganism”. Her detention was repeatedly extended until she was arbitrarily remanded as a criminal suspect in October 2022.

During her detention, she was denied access not only to her lawyer, but also essential medical treatment and other basic necessities, including warm clothes and drinking water.