On Friday, Lyavon Khalatran, a volunteer at imprisoned politician Viktar Babaryka‘s campaign office and director of Ruin Bar OK16, has been sentenced to 2 years of restriction of liberty in an open-type correction facility, our correspondent reports.
Having signed the pledge not to leave country, he has been released in the courtroom for some time.
The activist was found guilty under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (preparing or organising actions that grossly violate public order). On the night of August 10, he blocked roads in the vicinity of Kuibyshau and Masherau streets, caused an obstruction to traffic, chanted slogans and clapped his hands, the prosecution claims. According to Khalatran, he just went out of the office to take a short walk.
The case was considered by judge Yuliya Bliznyuk in Frunzenski district court of Minsk. Prosecutor Pavel Papkou demanded the defendant get 3 years of restriction of liberty. Lyavon pleaded not guilty.
“My little boy’s birthday is drawing on and I am craving for celebrating that day with him at home… How could I block the traffic if it had been blocked before? Why does a person from the company [city public trasport agency Minsktrans] come to court, but he is not prepared at all, he cannot explain any schemes and calculations?
[On that day] I headed back to the campaign office, then I turned around. There is nothing uncommon when people walk on the sidewalk back and forth, if there is no curfew in the city. I did not coordinate anyone, I just informed people about the then developments that were important to us. I want to say thanks to my family, friends and everyone who supports me. I cannot find the words to stress the importance of it,” the man said in his last plea.
Earlier, Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised Khalatran as a political prisoners. He had been prosecuted before; the investigators were well aware of his raising a minor son, but still, the strictest restraint measure (incarceration) was applied.