Youtuber Ruslan Linnik who reported pressure from police gets 4 years in jail

On September 17, Maskouski district court of Minsk passed a guilty verdict in the case of political prisoner Ruslan Linnik, human rights activists report.

Photo: Ruslan Linnik / Youtube

Throughout the year of 2020, Belarusian Youtube vlogger Linnik had been making and posted videos regarding hot-button social and political issue. At the moment, his Youtube channel has about 80,000 subscribers.

Ruslan was detained on February 20 in Vitsebsk, then he was taken to pre-trial detention centew Nr 1 on Valadarski street in Minsk. He was charged under four articles of the Criminal Code: Art. 367 (slandering the president), Art. 368 (insulting the president), Art. 369 (insulting a government official), Art.188 (slander).

According to the authorities’ version, the vlogger’s videos contained insults and slander against Alyaksandr Lukashenka, former KGB chairman Valery Vakulchyk, Defence Minister Viktar Khrenin, former Interior Minister Yury Karayeu and his deputy Henadz Kazakevich.

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In court, Ruslan Linnik pleaded not guilty and refused to testify. In his last plea, he revealed the facts of the police’s exerting psychological and physical pressure on him. The blogger states he was compelled to appear in the so called ‘repentant’ video. He was not able to resist, as the man ‘knew what consequences the refusal would bring’. As reported earlier, Belarusian security forces keep making many compatriots repent on camera, threatening them with dismissal, arrest, or more drastic punishment.

The political prisoner added he no longer relied on justice and did not feel guilty.

Judge Yury Mashketau took heed of public prosecutor Yauhen Serakou’s demand and sentenced Ruslan Linnik to four years in a penal colony.

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