Sentence upheld: Ex-political prisoner to serve one year in maximum-security penal colony

Minsk City Court rejected opposition activist Vasil Parfiankou’s appeal against his prison sentence. A judge took no notice of inreliability of evidence given by policemen.

On December 5, judge Leanid Yarmolenkau of Pershamayski District Court sentenced Mr Parfiankou to one year in a high-security correctional institution for allegedly failing to comply with restrictions imposed on him following his release.

In court Vasil Parfiankou called Aliaksandr Lukashenka ‘a man who identifies himself as President for some unknown reason’. He refused to give evidence saying that the trial aims at putting him away because of his civil engagement.

According to the court decision, the activist is also to be subjected to forced treatment for alcoholism during his imprisonment.

During today’s trial, Volha Bezbarodkina, Mr Parfiankou’s lawyer, said that her client viewed his sentence as politically motivated. Judge Yarmolenkau’s decision was based entirely on allegations by police witnesses, who contradicted themselves so badly that their testimonies eventually had to be written down and simply read out in the courtroom, she said.

Ms Bezbarodkina questioned a medical report declaring her client to be an alcoholic and called for an additional health examination to verify his diagnosis. The judge rejected the lawyer’s request.

Mr Parfyankou is currently held in a detention center in Zhodzina, Minsk, region. He is expected to be transferred to a prison in Horki, Mahiliou region.


The course of persecution

Vasil Parfiankou, charged with initiating mass social unrest, became the first convicted for participation in the 2010 December post-election peaceful demonstration. On February 17, 2011 Frunzensky Disctict Court found him guilty and sentenced to four years in maximum-security penal colony.

On August 11, 2011 the activist was pardoned by President Lukashenka and released from Vorsha prison. But on April 19, 2012 the investigation Committee informed Parfiankou of opening another criminal case on the basis of his violation of one-year preventive control regime, which had been ordered by court on January 5, 2012.

According to public prosecutor Stsiapurka, Mr Parfiankou was away from home at time arranged without valid excuse. The defendant explained that he was absent just within some minutes doing shopping. ‘In my opinion, they put me under preventive control regime to keep me from taking part in social and political activity. I do not think that having gone shopping I committed a crime,’ Parfiankou declared. He pointed out that he had been put under control after his participation in the protest action.

On August 2012 Mr Parfiankou started serving his term in Baranavichy penal colony; on February 9, 2013 he was freed but put under police surveillance.

On July 12, 2013 Mr Parfiankou was charged with violation of preventive surveillance rules (art. 421 of the Criminal Code). Although the case was submitted to court it was not tried: another method of influence on the activist was thought up. Having served five days of arrest, on September 21, 2013 Vasil Parfiankou was unexpectedly sent to Svetlahorsk activity therapy centre for one-year period., following BelaPAN

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