‘He Stole Votes’: Three years of restriction of liberty for showing effigy of Lukashenka

Andrey Kolas, Volha Zavadskaya, Yuliya Bodak in court. Photo: Belsat

On April 1, Maskouski district court of Brest passed a guilty verdict on three defendants in a more than unusual criminal case.

Two women and a man were charged under Article 339 of the Criminal Code (‘hooliganism committed by a group of persons’). In fact, the local residents made an effigy of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and hanged it; there being the inscriptions ‘He Stole Votes’ and ‘He sentenced The Innocent’ on the effigy.

Judge Ina Klyshpach has taken heed of the prosecution’s demand and sentenced Yuliya Bodak and Volha Zavadskaya to three years of restriction of liberty without being sent to a correction facility; their companion in misfortune Andrey Kolas will have to spend three years in a penal settlement.

“I do believe the sentence to be unfair, unjustified, farfetched. As there is an [unofficial] order to impose maximum sentences in ‘political’ cases, our fate was sealed beforehand. What I did [making the effigy] can be considered as an administrative violation; they might have tried me, say, for environmental pollution, but it [the case] does not fall under criminal prosecution,” activist Yuliya Bodak told Belsat.

The regime does not leave any other opportunity for peaceful protesting, Bodak stressed. According to her, as Belarusians cannot be in peace with injustice, they started to opt for unconventional forms of protest.

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