On May 4, Chyhunachny district court announced guilty verdicts in the case of members of Belarusian presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s initiative group in the Belarusian city of Homiel.
The trial of Yury Ulasau, Dzmitry Ivashkou, Alyaksandr Shabalin, Tatsyana Kaneuskaya started on April, 12. They were charged with ‘participating in riots’ (Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code) and ‘plans to seize office buildings’ (Art. 292), Ulasau was also accused of ‘insulting a public officer’ (Art. 359).
Last week, public prosecutor Dzyanis Mikushau demanded the defendants be given long prison terms. Today judge Alyaksei Khlyshchankou has taken heed of the prosecution’s demand and sentenced Ulasau to 6.5 years in a medium security penal colony, Kaneuskaya – to 6 years in a minimum security penal colony, Shabalin and Ivashkou – to 6 years in a medium security penal colony each. Moreover, Yury Ulasau will also have to pay off 2,500 rubles to each of the six policemen as compensation for their ‘emotional distress’ and another 550 rubles of legal costs.
The Belarusian human rights community recognised four Homiel residents as political prisoners. In the course of court sessions, all of them pleaded not guilty. Representatives of non-state media were not allowed to attend court hearings.