2 years in jail: Mahiliou court delivers first sentence for web comments on killing KGB officer

On January 10, Leninski district court completed hearing the case of a 45-year-old resident of Mahiliou and passed a guilty verdict, the Prosecutor General’s Office reports.

The Belarusian authorities faulted the man for allegedly posting insulting comments directed against security officer Dzmitry Fedasyuk killed in the widely reported shootout in Minsk in late September as well as his colleagues. The defendant was charged with ‘publicly insulting an official in the discharge of their duties’ (Article 369 of the Criminal Code). The man who made a full admission has been sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a minimum security penal colony. Thecrime tool’ – his mobil phone with the help of which he wrote – is to be confiscated.

The verdict has not come into force yet; it can still be appealed.

Andrey Zeltsar’s widow transferred to jail and tortured

In accordance with the authorities’ version, Belarusian security officers were conducting a ‘special inspection of the apartments in which people involved in terrorist activities could have been’ on September 28; in the course of the KGB raid, two persons were killed on Yakubouski Street in Minsk – KGB officer Dzmitry Fedasyuk and EPAM employee Andrey Zeltsar. The latter resided in the flat to which plainclothed people broke into on that day. If the Investigative Committee’s statement is anything to go by, Zeltsar fired a shotgun at the visitors and wounded one of them; later, the injured Fedasyuk died of wounds in hospital. The owner of the apartment was killed as well; his 40-year-old wife Maryia Uspenskaya was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the murder of a KGB officer.

The Belarusian special services have been using the tragedy on Yakubouski Street as a pretext for stepping up reprisals: over 200 people have been taken into custody over online duscussing the tragic deaths of the IT specialist and the KGB officer. According to the Belarusian Investigative Committee, these people are defendants in criminal cases initiated under Article 130 (‘inciting to hatred’) and 369 (‘insulting a representative of authorities’) of the Criminal Code. The reason for their being persecuted were comments and videos which were notable for their unabashed cynicism’, the investigators said.

It would be good if the authorities could kill up to 100 persons (i.e. protesters or dissidents) in retaliation for one dead KGB officer, pro-Lukashenka top brass officer Aleh Belakoneu said when attending the farewell ceremony for Fedasyuk.

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