A third court hearing has been held today in a trial of Sviatoslav Baranovich, who is the last participant of December 19th anti-regime demonstration, to be tried in court for causing disorder.
Baranovich charges are based on article 293, point 2 of the Belarusian Criminal Code („participation in mass social disorder”), for which he can be sentenced to three to eight years in prison. The defendant maintains that there was no organized riots on December 19th. He also added he is not afraid to go to prison.
„I believe that one should abide by their own values and rules, because otherwise – what’s the purpose of our lives? We have a right to vote for any of the candidates. This is my right. So I came to the square not to destroy things, but to show a moral support for my candidate.” – Mr. Baranovich told Belsat on September 26th, after the second court hearing.
The trial began on August 29th, but it was delayed due to the absence of the policeman that was allegedly attacked. The defendant was released from the arrest pending trial, on the condition of not leaving the country. During the last hearing, 10 alleged victims testified. They all were policeman from a special unit in Minsk. Asked by a prosecutor, if they recognize the defendant, they gave negative response and said they held no grudge against him.
Sviatoslav Baranovich plead guilty to some of the counts, admitting punching police shields after being hit in the head. He stressed he had not hit any of the policemen.