Former investigator sentenced to 1.5 years in jail for participation in protests

A Minsk court Judge found political prisoner Alyaksei Zikeyeu guilty of a crime under Article 342 of the Criminal Code (“Organization or active participation in group activities, grossly violating public order”). The verdict was announced on October 29, reports the Human Rights Centre “Viasna.”

The political prisoner was sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment in a penal colony under the general regime. Alyaksei has been in custody since June 17, 2021.

Alyaksei Zikeyeu. Photo: viasna96 / Telegram

Alyaksei is a citizen of Minsk, he is married, has a 6-year-old son. He has higher education, before his detention he worked as a director. He is also a former senior investigator, and during the 2020 election campaign, he joined Valery Tsapkala‘s team.

Zikeyeu was found guilty of participating in protest marches in Minsk on August 16, 23, and 30, 2020, and September 6, 2020. According to the indictment, he joined a group of citizens, clapped hands, shouted slogans, and obstructed traffic.

At the hearing, the prosecutor said that Alyaksei’s guilt was fully proven. He proposed a sentence of 1.5 years in jail, to which the judge eventually agreed. The defense lawyer noted that there was no evidence of the violation of the group actions of social and political nature, except for four selfies from a phone.

In his final statement, Zikeyeu said:

“During the time I was in the pre-trial detention center, I came to the conclusion that there is nothing more precious than family. Not money, nothing. I have one request: not to deprive me of my freedom, so that I could return to my family, bring up my child, and not have to explain to him why his father was away from home. And just continue to be a citizen of my country, I haven’t done anything wrong to anyone, I’ve always helped.”