Minsker sentenced to 5 years of restriction of liberty for comments about police on Telegram

Аlyaksei Lipen. Minsk, 13 April 2021. Photo: Belsat

On April 13, Zavodski district court of Minsk announced a guilty verdict in the case of Alyaksei Lipen.

As Alyaksei had left some insulting comments on the Telegram channel ‘Punishers of Belarus’ from October to December, the police made unexpected visits to his place. The officers searched his flat four times, looking for money, weapons, drugs and ‘forbidden symbols’. The raiders forced Alyaksei to unblock his mobile phone so that they could check it out. All computer equipment found was seized; Alyaksei was arrested.

The man was charged with ‘publicly insulting a representative of authority’ (Article 369 of the Criminal Code) and ‘threat of violence against a law enforcement officer’ (Article 364). More than ten police officers were named in the case as victims.

Belarusian judge receives letter from Bundestag MP asking for justice, forwards it to police

Judge Aleh Kalyada took into account the prosecution’s demand and sentenced Alyaksei Lipen to 5 years of the restriction of liberty. The man is also liable to pay off compensation totalling to 5,500 rubles to the ‘victims’ as well as their court costs (522 rubles).

Today Alyaksei Lipen has been released in courtroom; he signed a pledge not to leave town. When the centence comes into force, the Minsker will start serving his term in an open-type correction facility.

As reported earlier, the Amnesty International organisation published its 2020/2021 report on the state of the human rights in the world in early April; according to the human rights watchdog, the Belarusian authorities systematically used torture and other ill-treatment against people detained during protests, including participants, journalists and bystanders. However, by the end of the year, not a single criminal investigation had been opened, nor had any law enforcement officer been charged with respective violations, AI experts added.

Amnesty International: Belarus authorities used torture, ill-treatment against detainees, but no police officer charged yet