Minsk wedding photographer sentenced to three years in jail for ‘insulting police’ on web

On October 12, Tsentralny district court of Minsk passed a guilty verdict in the case of 46-year-old wedding photographer Dzmitry Sonchyk, human rights centre Viasna reports. The direct cause of initiating the case was the comments left by the defendant on Telegram.

Dzmitry Sonchyk was detained on June 28. The wedding photographer was accused of insulting and threatening the police on Telegram channels. Officially, he was charged under Article 364 of the criminal code (‘violence or threat of violence to a police officer’) and Art. 369 (‘insulting a representative of the authorities’), and In court the injured party was represented by A. Perekhodzka (Ivatsevichy police department), A. Hrynkevich (Head of Nyasvizh police department, R. Pranevich (senior lieutenant at Nyasvizh police department), GUBAZIK officer A. Alyoks.

According to the prosecution, ‘the threats caused fear for the lives and health of and affected the mental state of the victims: they perceived the threats as real’.

The defendant refused to testify and pleaded guilty. Judge Dzmitry Karsyuk sentenced Dzmitry Sonchyk to three years of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony.

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