Opposition activist Yury Rubtsou to spend 18 months in open-type correctional institution

Yury Rubtsou, an opposition activist from Homyel, is to spend 18 months in an open-type correctional institution for allegedly insulting a judge. On October, 6 he was sentenced to 2.5 years of personal restraint. However, the sentence was reduced to 1.5 years due to the amnesty.

The activist was charged with a crime under Article 391 of the Criminal Code, ‘Insulting a judge or a lay judge’. The trial was led by Natallia Vaitsekhovich, a judge of Tsentralny District Court of Minsk. 

State prosecutor Hardzeyenka demanded to punish Yury Rubtsou with restriction of liberty for a term of three years. 

‘Man in T-shirt’

On April 28, Savetski district court of Minsk heard an administrative case against Yury Rubtsou detained at the Charnobyl Path rally that was  permitted by the authorities. Mr Rubtsou was often seen wearing a T-shirt bearing inscriptions ‘Lukashenka, go away!’ and ‘Fourfold President – not President but self-appointed tsar!’, which could not but irritate police and authorities. After the rally policemen stripped him of his T-shirt and take Mr Rubtsou to court half-naked. Moreover, as he had no glasses he was unable to study the materials of his case. When he called this trial a ‘mockery’, judge Kiryl Palulekh interpreted the words as an insult.

‘Mockery trial’

The counsel asked to justify Mr Rubtsou due to the absence of direct evidence of insult: the April trial of the activist hadn’t been recorded on audio or video. Therefore, the accusations against the defendant was based only on the testimonies of the police who had arbitrarily detained him during the Chernobyl Path rally.

But judge Kiryl Palulekh, riot policemen Sharko and Bely and court secretary Darya Stasiuk confirmed that Mr Rubtsou had insulted the judge by using bad language.

Earlier Yury Rubtsou told journalists that the authorities were prsecuting him because he had raised the subject of corrupt practices in Belarusian courts.


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