Minsk city court has heard the criminal case against 45-year-old businessman Alyaksandr Trotski for attempted murder of a traffic policeman (Article 14, Article 362 of the Criminal Code). Prosecutor Anton Tsyumentsau demanded 11 years in a strict regime penal colony. On March 5th Judge Syarhei Hrypach sentenced Trotski to 10 years of imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony.
The incident happened on August 12 around 8:00 p.m. at the intersection of Melnikaite Street and Peramozhtsau Avenue. That evening, near the Pushkinskaya station, law enforcement officers dispersed protesters with flash grenades and attacked cars on the road. Trotski’s car was also attacked. The man was returning home from work. He refused to get out of the car as the law enforcers did not introduce themselves and were dressed in black and balaclavas. According to Trotski, a traffic police officer took out a military gun and pointed it in his direction aiming straight at his head. When they started dragging him forcibly out of the car, Trotski tried to drive away and hit one of the traffic cops.
“Really frightened for my life, I simply tried to drive away from that place. To do this, I turned the steering wheel as far to the left as possible in order to pass Yurau standing ahead at a distance of at least a meter and a half, just to the right of the middle of the hood, and drove off, trying not to hit anyone,” Alyaksandr Trotski later told the court.
During the arrest the windows of the car were broken, the man was dragged out of the car and beaten. Alyaksandr was admitted to the 5th hospital severely beaten and diagnosed with “craniocerebral trauma” and “deafness”. Policeman Uladzimir Yurau sustained injuries that did not result in a short-term health disorder. Trotski spent three weeks in the hospital after his arrest.
The injured motorist was guarded by policemen and handcuffed to the bed. After his treatment Alyaksandr was transferred to pre-trial prison # 1 in Valadarskaha street in Minsk.
Alyaksandr Trotski had been on trial in Minsk City Court since February 24. According to the investigation, he deliberately ran over a policeman’s leg. Article 362 provides for punishment of up to the death penalty, but it is not applied to the attempted murder, so the accused could face up to 25 years in jail. The case was heard by judge Hrypach. The prosecution side was represented by public prosecutor Anton Tsyumentsau, while the defense – by lawyer Yauhen Maslau.
At the trial the court heard Trotski’s testimony, given during the preliminary investigation in the 5th hospital. He stated that he had received death threats, had been beaten and had a gun put in his mouth, had been revived with ammonia, and had continued to be beaten; he had almost slipped into a coma.
The injured traffic policeman, Major Uladzimir Yurau did not show up at the first hearing: he was suspected of having coronavirus. The policeman received leg injuries during the incident, which the expert examination acknowledged as non-serious. The policeman asked for 20 thousand rubles in compensation.
Trotski pleaded not guilty and asked for acquittal.
Trotsky claims that he left the place where the armed men stopped him because he was afraid for his own life. According to the defendant, he ran over the traffic police major by accident and is ready to compensate for the damage caused.
Trotski had been pressing charges over his beating, but investigators found no reason to open the case.
Alyaksandr Trotski is 45 years old. He is married with three children, the youngest daughter is a minor. Together with his family he lives in the village of Tarasava near Minsk. Alyaksandr has a higher education, he is a founder and director of a company, and before that he held senior positions in a bank and a large automobile dealership. He had not previously been under trial. Škoda Kodiaq is registered to Trotsky’s firm and was bought on lease, which must be paid off.
This is one of the harshest sentences a prosecutor has sought in connection with the August protests against election fraud. So far, Alyaksandr Kardzyukou, a witness to the murder of Henadz Shutau in Brest, has received the longest sentence. He was sentenced to 10 years for allegedly attempting to murder the security officer.