Minsk: Protester sentenced to 4 years in jail. 13 special forces officers are ‘injured party’

Protesters on Partyzanski Avenue in Minsk. Photo: Vot Tak / Belsat

On Wednesday, Frunzenski district court passed a guilty verdict in the case of 53-year-old Minsk resident Mikalai Dzenisevich. The man took part in the Partisans’ March that took place in the Belarusian capital city on October, 18.

Dzenisevich was charged under Article 342-1of the Criminal Code (‘active participation in the actions that grossly violate public order’); Article 218-1 (‘intentional destruction of property’) and Art. 364 (‘threat of violence against a police officer’), human rights centre Viasna reports.

The victims in the case were 13 officers of the Interior Ministry’s special anti-terrorist unit Almaz, but only three of them – masked and with changed identity – gave testimony during the trial, human rights defenders said.

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According to the prosecution’s version Mikalai was throwing stones, pieces of asphalt, and other objects at the police cars which were carrying police officers from an antiterrorist unit during the protest. These actions were qualified as threats to use violence against law enforcement officers and damage to property worth 5,728 Belarusian rubles (appr. $2,000).

Dzenisevich pleaded guilty to all charges, but stressed that he had made two symbolic throws at minibuses with the police ‘to draw attention and show the level of his indignation at the excessive use of violence against peaceful protesters’.

As a result, judge Dzmitry Lukashevich took heed of prosecutor assistant Valeryia Taratynka’s demand and sentenced the man to 4 years of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony.

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