Astravets resident gets three years in jail for removing official flag

On October 13, local resident Artur Zhvirydouski was tried in the police department of Astravets (Hrodna region). The hearing was held behind closed doors, human right centre Viasna reports.

The man was charged with ‘hooliganism’ (Article 339 of the Criminal Code and ‘insulting state symbols’ (Art. 370). It is known that Artur Zhvirydouski has been under arrest for more than three months. The defendant rejected a defence lawyer’s assistance.

According to the prosecution’s version, Zhvirydouski hung a white-red-white flag on a school building in June and painted white-red-white stripes on a stone. In addition, he took away a red-green flag from the building of one of the state institutions in Astravets.

None of those who came to support Zhvirydouski, including his mother and other relatives, were allowed to be present at the trial. Some of them were only questioned as witnesses, after which they were immediately removed from the ‘courtroom’. There is no official information about this session at the information polint of Astravets court; in fact, this hearing was not only completely closed, but ‘classified’ too.

Artur Zhvirydouski was sentenced to three years in a maximum security penal colony.

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