Former investigator Vyarshynin sentenced

Two photos of the marches, provided to the law enforcement officers by the man whom Vyarshynin had once investigated. They became a proof of his guilt.

Yahor Vyarshynin. Photo: Nasha Niva

On October 8th, the Central District Court of Minsk passed the sentence for the former investigator, political prisoner Yahor Vyarshynin, reports the Human Rights Center “Viasna.”

Judge Dzmitry Karasyuk found him guilty of “active participation in actions that grossly violate public order” (part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to two years in a penal colony.

Even before the verdict, Vyarshynin was declared a political prisoner.

Yahor Vyarshynin was detained on June 11th, 2006. He spent three days in jail and then was transferred to the pre-trial detention center. Yahor’s relatives have almost no information about the criminal case against him, as the lawyer has signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Vyarshynin worked for over six years in the Investigative Committee. After finishing school in Homiel, he entered the Faculty of Law of Belarusian State University. In 2013, he graduated with a degree in judicial, prosecutorial, and investigative activities. Then he worked in the district departments of the Investigative Committee of the capital and in the central office. He investigated economic crimes. In 2019, he resigned. He engaged in sports analytics, learned languages, planned to enter the IT field.

Evidence of guilt came from photos of Vyarshynin participating in marches on August 23 and 30, 2020 where he is holding a white-red-white flag and raising his fist up. The second photo is a selfie against the background of security forces. He posted the photos on his private Facebook page. These photos were given to the siloviki by a man whom Vyarshynin once investigated.

Vyarshynin pleaded not guilty. He admitted only that he had marched with other marchers, but noted:

“I don’t understand what destructive purposes, destructive appeals mean at all, as there is no such definition in the law at all.”

Former investigator Yauhen Yushkevich was brought as a witness to the trial in handcuffs behind his back. He is kept in the KGB detention center and accused of “terrorism.” Among other things, he noted that it was not forbidden by law to walk along the blocked road. He said that it looked like the road was blocked on purpose so that people could walk along the road.