‘Inciting hatred’: Vlogger Pavel Spiryn gets hefty jail term over videos on Youtube

Pavel Spiryn in court. Photo: Belsat

On Friday, Minsk City Court passed the verdict in the case of popular Belarusian vlogger Pavel Spiryn, finding him guilty and imposing a 4.5-year prison term on him.

Pavel Spiryn was detained on September, 4. He was accused of inciting social hatred (Article 130-1 of the Criminal Code); the charge was based on two videos on his YouTube channel: The Edge (posted on 14 June 2019) and The Dark Secret of Belarus’ Prosecutor General: Carte Blanche for Sadism (posted on 22 August 2020). The two films might be about anti-drug legislation and post-election developments in Belarus, but the authorities claim there are signs of inciting hostility against prosecutors, judges, deputies, senior officials, policemen in them.

“There is a TV set in our cell, and every evening we hear a talk about the pressing need to hold a dialogue. The people of Belarus do want a dialogue <…> So, I ask the honourable court that the verdict demonstrate what the state means by the concept of dialogue and what is in store for the people who opted for taking the chance for peace for the country. Let the verdict you are rendering show what will happen to our minor children and retired parents. I have nothing to add,” Spiryn said in his final plea.

Prosecutor Anton Tsyumentsau demanded Pavel Spiryn be sentenced to 4 years and 6 months of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony; judge Dzina Kuchuk took heed of the prosecution’s appeal.

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