Ivan Vyarbitski sentenced to 8 years in jail for ‘terrorism’

Incitement to an act of terrorism, illegal acquisition and possession of ammunition and explosives, as well as destruction of official documents — these are the charges pressed against against Ivan Vyarbitski, resident of Halshany. The defendant pleaded not guilty and said that the discussion online was a joke and had nothing to do with real life, reports the human rights center Viasna.

Ivan Vyarbitski was found guilty under Part 1 Article 289 of the Criminal Code (“Incitement to an act of terrorism”), for which the judge sentenced him to eight years in jail. There are also two months in jail under part 1 of article 377 of the Criminal Code (“Destruction of a search warrant”). The final sentence was eight years and one month in a strict regime penal colony.

Besides, Vyarbitski was accused of illegally storing weapons, but he was acquitted under this article. The “terrorist” of Halshany pleaded guilty only to damaging the search warrant.

Ivan Vyarbitski. Photo: “Rehiyanalnaya Hazeta”.

The prosecutor’s office of Ashmiany District reported that on October 14, 2020 “with the purpose of destabilizing the public order, the citizen posted text messages in one of the Telegram channel groups, which contained calls to damaging the KGB building with Molotov cocktails and setting fire to the prosecutor’s office of Ashmiany District”.

In response, Ivan Vyarbitski said that one should understand the difference between reality and virtual life. According to him, the discussion in the telegram feeds was entirely humorous and had no relation to real life. He admitted that he often engaged in “trolling”. And during the trial he proposed to start a criminal case against the state prosecutor Syarhei Kavalchuk.

The case was heard by the judge Liudmila Pyatrova.