‘Unauthorised mass event’: Vitsyaz handball club head coach gets 15-day jail term

Kanstantsin Yakauleu, head coach of Vitsyaz handball club. Photo: Belsat

Kanstantsin Yakauleu, the head coach of the Vitsyaz handball club and an activist of the Free Association of Athletes of Belarus (SOS_BY), has been sentenced to 15 days in jail, SOS_BY fellow members say.

The case was expected to be considered by judge Alyaksei Kropachau; the defendant was reported to be tried right in the building of Minsk district pre-trial detention centre.

Yakauleu was charged with ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’ (Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences), but the details of the alleged violation are not known.

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Kanstantsin Yakauleu was detained on June 16. In the morning, he and other athletes headed to the town of Baranavichy to meet and collect sports journalist Dzmitry Ruto who had served a 15-day jail term.

“When we were returning from Baranavichy, the traffic police stopped us. Then masked officers arrived and took away only Kostsya Yakauleu,” Ivan Hanin, a multiple kickboxing and Muay Thai champion and SOS_BY activist, said.

Miss Belarus-2008 Volha Khizhynkova, volleyball player Artur Udrys, footbaler Vasil Khamutouski, decathlete Andrey Krauchanka were in the car with them as well, but they were not detained.

It should be recalled that in October 2020, the Vitsyaz club headed by Kanstantsin Yakauleu refused to hold a match in light of the Belarusian authorities’ arresting prominent basketball player Alena Leuchanka. Then the team was removed from the handball championship as a penance.

On the back of the detention, security forces searched Yakauleu’s place and seized computer equipment and mobile phones.

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