Brest bloggers accused of contributing to national protests in Belarus

Syarhei Pyatrukhin and Alyaksandr Kabanau. Photo: Nasha Niva

In Mahiliou, the trial over Brest bloggers Syarhei Pyatrukhin and Alyaksandr Kabanau ended on April 9. The defendants were never given an opportunity to speak, TUT.BY reports.

Prosecutor Tatsiana Amosava asked for Kabanau and Pyatrukhin three years in a general regime colony, while Pyatrukhin was also obliged to pay a fine of 360 base units (10,440 rubles). Besides, Amosava asked to satisfy in full the suit of the riot policeman for 1.5 thousand rubles.

Syarhei Pyatrukhin and Alyaksandr Kabanau are accused under part 1 of article 342 “Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them”, Article 369 “Insulting a representative of the authorities” of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. Pyatrukhin is also accused of insulting a judge (article 391 of the Criminal Code).

According to the investigation, the mass protests all over Belarus in 2020 began precisely because of Pyatrukhin and Kabanau, who acted in connection with Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Seviarynets, purposefully creating social and political tensions in the country.

According to Amosava, Pyatrukhin and Kabanau filmed videos about the problems of the Brest region and protests of Brest residents against the construction of a battery plant and posted them on the YouTube channel “People’s Reporter,” and in 2019 they met and communicated with Syarhei Tsikhanouski.

The state prosecutor cited wiretaps and correspondence between Tsikhanouski and Mikalai Statkevich about plans to meet in Minsk and Brest and about organizing pickets to collect signatures during the presidential campaign — as “irrefutable and reliable evidence” of Pyatrukhin and Kabanau’s guilt.

Here is the connection made by the investigation: the bloggers Pyatrukhin and Kabanau started posting videos on political topics after the meeting with Tsikhanouski (8 months after it) and participate in the collection of signatures during the presidential campaign.

And since Tsikhanousky communicated with Statkevich, who stated that mass protests could start, “the purpose of the activities of Tsikhanousky, Statkevich and others involved in such activities was to destabilize the situation in Belarus during the electoral campaign of 2020.

Among the insulted representatives of the authorities are captain Vital Autushenka, inspector of the special training department of Mahiliou riot police, who took part in the detention of Syarhei Tsikhanouski near Mahiliou on May 6. The victim stated that the comment in the local newspaper demonized him and insulted his honor and dignity. The silovik told the court that his neighbors stopped talking to his parents after the photo appeared.

Another victim is Brest Regional Court judge Andrei Leshchanka, who, according to investigators, was insulted by Syarhei Pyatrukhin by posting a video of the administrative process with an insulting commentary under it on his page in

The defendants were not allowed to make a final statement: Judge Volha Krauchanka thought that the participation of the defense was enough. The verdict will be announced on Wednesday, April 14, at 10:00.