Minsker gets 15 days in jail for sharing news story from TUT.BY Telegram in private messages

On September 23, the police detained 36-year-old Minsk resident Pavel Smirnou and transported him to Frunzenski district police department to have a ‘preventive conversation’, human rights centre Viasna reports.

Pavel Smirnou. Photo: HRC Viasna / Telegram

According to the policeman, the detainee was taken to the police station for a ‘check’ as he had previously participated in unauthorised mass events.

During the conversation, Smirnou gave the policemen his mobile phone, in which they found a post from TUT.BY Telegram channel which the detainee had shared in private correspondence with his friend. As a result, the police officers drew a protocol under Art. 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences (‘spreading information products that contain calls to extremist activities or promote such activities’).

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On September 24, Smirnou’s case was considered by Frunzenski district court judge Tatsyana Palulekh. The man admitted his guilt and added that he was not aware of TUT.BY Telegram channel’s being listed as ‘extremist’. However, the judge found the man guilty and sentenced him to 15 days in jail.

In addition, a so called repentant video featuring Smirnou has appeared on pro-Lukashenka Telegram channels on Friday.

It is the first-known case of a Belarusian court’s sentencing a person for forwarding a piece of information from TUT.BY telegram channel.

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