On September 13th, Brest officers of the State Security Committee searched the relatives of the activist Andrei Sharenda, who had escaped from prosecution abroad.
As a result of these searches, Andrei Sharenda learned that several new criminal cases had been filed against him. He told the details to Reform.by.
According to Sharenda, the law enforcers came to his parent’s apartment and his mother-in-law’s apartment at the same time. They conducted an “inspection” there, but they also came to his apartment with a search warrant. After that, the mother-in-law was taken to her apartment, and they conducted an “inspection” there as well.
My mother-in-law remembers only two articles from the series written in the decree: “Act of terrorism” (Article 289 of the Criminal Code) and “Financing of extremist activity” (Part 2, Article 361-2 of the Criminal Code). He connects the first with the fact that the same article is incriminated against volunteers from Vileika; the second may be related to the case of “an attempt to undermine the communication center” in Vileika, according to which searches are also conducted against Vileika volunteers.
In a conversation with the parents, says Andrei, the law enforcers were not as interested in the criminal cases, as in where their son was and what he was doing.
“They convinced my parents that I had to write a petition for clemency, that there was an amnesty, they mentioned the Day of National Unity, they said that if I signed the papers, I could go back to Belarus, they wouldn’t even arrest me and would release Palina, and we would supposedly be able to live peacefully,” Andrei Charenda recounts and adds that he was not going to write any petitions.
Andrei’s wife and mother of two minor children, political prisoner Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, was charged under three articles of the Criminal Code: Article 368 (“Insulting the President”), Article 369 (“Insulting a public officer”), Article 364 (“Violence or threat of violence against an officer of the Interior”). In June, Palina was sentenced to two years in prison. The woman would not admit her guilt and considers herself captured.
After the conviction, Andrei Sharenda was also charged in two criminal cases: Article 361 of the Criminal Code (“Appeals to actions damaging the national security”) and Article 368 of the Criminal Code (“Insulting the President”). On 28 June, the trial over Andrei, who was placed under house arrest on 31 May, was to have started in Maskouski District Court of Brest. But he didn’t show up for the trial and left Belarus.