Salihorsk: Paratrooper Akostka sentenced to three years in prison for ‘violence’ against policeman

On Thursday, a Salihorsk court has passed a verdict on Ruslan Akostka, a local resident and paratrooper, human rights centre Viasna reports.

The man came into the spotlight after his marching through the entire city and waving a white-red-white flag on November 15, in the wake of Minsk protester Raman Bandarenka’s death. After being detained, the man was awaiting trial in the remand prison in the town of Zhodzina.

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Akostka was accused of resisting a police officer and inflicting bodily injuries that did not cause serious complications and damage to health (Article 363 of the Criminal Code). At the same time, the video of Akostka’s detention shows that the protester did offer no resistance.

Yahor Tsarykovich, an officer of Salihorsk department of Interior and a victim in the case, gave testimony in court. According to him, Ruslan Akostka grabbed him by the left leg with one hand, by the torso with the other hand, knocked him to the ground and fell on him from above.

Prosecutor Alyaksei Charnyshevich demanded Akostka be sentenced to three years of imprisonment and pay 2,000 rubles to the policeman as compensation for his emotional distress. Akostka’s defence lawyer asked the court to acquit her client due to the lack of evidence, but judge Alesya Seradzenka took heed of the prosecution’s version. Ruslan Akostka will have to spend the coming three years in a minimum-security detention facility.

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