Tsikhan Vosipau sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted hit-and-run

On May 19th, the judges of Minsk city court judges under Judge Pyotr Arlou passed sentence to the 25-year-old BNTU engineer Tsikhan Vosipau. He was charged with running over the military officers during the protests in August 2020, participating in “mass riots,” and making a false denunciation, spring96.org reports.

Minsk city court sentenced Vosipau to 11 years in a reinforced regime colony. Prosecutor Anton Tsyumentseu had previously requested a sentence of 12 years in prison.

Vosipau was found guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code at once: attempted murder of a military man (part 1 of Art.) 14 and 362), participation in mass riots (part 2 of article 293), and knowingly false denunciation (part 1 of article 400).

The 25-year-old engineer of BNTU Tsikhan Vosipau is in the courtroom. He is charged under three articles of the Criminal Code at once. According to the charges, on the night of August 10th, 2020, the man participated in protest action, ran over five soldiers with his BMW, then left his car in a pond and reported it as stolen. Minsk, Belarus. April 27, 2021. Photo: AV / Belsat

Vosipau pleaded guilty only to the charges of deliberate false accusation but not to the other articles. During the trial, he said that on the evening of August 10, he and his friends decided to go for a drive in the city and look around. First, they went to Hrushauka metro, then to the Kalvaryiskaya metro station, and then they went downtown. After driving around the city for two hours, around 11 p.m., they went home via Prytytskaha street, where there was a big traffic jam.

At some point, Tsikhan saw one of the drivers in the traffic jam taking the license plates off his car and decided to take them off for his own safety as well. Then Vosipau noticed in the rearview mirror a line of approaching law enforcers. They passed by his car, but he saw people with guns in the next lane pulling people out of the car, putting them on the ground, and holding guns.

“At that point, I panicked, they came up to me too, started pulling the door handle, I tried to change lane and drive away, but at that point, they started hitting all over the car. I was afraid I would be physically abused, so I tried to run, seeing people being pulled out of other cars with guns pointed at them.

After changing the lane, the man started to drive away and saw a group of law enforcers in front of him. They stepped aside, but as Vosipau drove past them, they started hitting the car. “I saw guns being pointed in my direction, and for a moment, I lost control of the car, hiding behind the wheel,” Vosipau told the court.

Then the man drove on and after a while stopped, turned around near the Skala shopping center, and saw a minibus. Then, thinking he was being chased, he decided to flee through the park, where there was dark, which caused him to drive into a body of water.

“When I got home, I decided to tell my wife that the car had been stolen. My wife advised me to go to the police, and I went to the station in the morning,” Tsikhan told the court.

As soon as the car was taken out of the pond, Tsikhan confessed and told the police how it all happened. They detained him under Article 293 of the Criminal Code and left him at the police station, taking away his belongings. Then the man was charged again under Article 362 of the Criminal Code.

Three victims spoke at the trial. They all said that they either did not see Vosipau driving up to them in the car at all or saw him only at the last moment. They also said that they were not seriously injured because they were in their protective gear and continued to serve after the incident. Some of them changed their testimony and said that they are not sure now that Vosipau committed the hit-and-run on purpose, as the prosecutor claims.