The Belarusian Investigative Committee has completed the probe into the case of a 25-year-old resident Minsk who hit five officers with his car during the first days of post-election protests at Pushkinskaya metro station in Minsk.
The young man has faced four criminal charges, BelTA informs. The state-run news agency fails to specify whether the alleged victims had injuries or other health impairments on the back of the incident.
According to the authorities, the Minsk resident took an active part in the ‘mass riots’ on August 11. Trying to avoid prosecution, he put the number plates off his BMW in advance, ahead of the rally, the investigators say. If the official version is anything to go by, the man ran into five officers of the internal troops from behind, escaped and drove the car into the pond. To provide an alibi for himself, he reportedly told the police that the BMW was stolen.
Now the protester is accused of ‘taking part in mass disturbances’ (Art. 293-2 of the Criminal Code), ‘attempted killing of law enforcement officers’ (Art. 14-1 and 362-1), ‘perjury’ (Art. 400-1). The punishment under Article 362 is up to 25 years in prison.
From the start of the election campaign in May 2020 to the end of the year, more than 33,000 individuals were detained, most of whom were later sentenced by courts to terms of administrative detention and heavy fines.
On 9 August 2020, the large-scale protests started in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Alyaksndr Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as bringing to justice those involved in battering and torturing peaceful demonstrators. In the post-election period criminal cases were instituted against more than 900 citizens, including Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova. There are at least seven death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. By the moment, 256 defendants were recognised as political prisoners by the Belarusian human rights community.
Several thousand detainees filed complaints against police officers’ illegal actions to the Investigative Committee. However, not a single criminal case has been opened over the citizens’ appeals.