Protests-linked murder in Brest: Dead man found guilty, witness gets 10 years in jail, shooter declared victim

Alyaksandr Kardzyukou in court. 19 February 2021. Photo: Belsat

On Thursday, a verdict was announced in the case of Alyaksandr Kardzyukou, an eyewitness to the murder of 43-year-old Brest resident Henadz Shutau. Svyatlana Kramyaneuskaya, a judge of Brest regional court, sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Notably, the deceased Shutau was found guilty of resisting the police (without sentencing).

At first, Alyaksandr Kardzyukou was accused of resisting an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Article 363-2 of the Criminal Code). Under this article he could face up to five years of imprisonment. Later, however, the charges were changed to attempted murder (Art. 139-2). During August protests in Brest, Raman Haurylau, a special forces officer from Minsk region, shot down Henadz Shutau. Alyaksandr Kardzyukou who witnessed that episode was arrested a few days later.

In court, Kardzyukou said that he had a piece of pipe for self-defense – just in case. According to him, Shutau and he were sitting on the parapet and watching around. Then they approached the officers and asked what was going on. Then Haurylau shoved Shutau, and Kardzyukou ‘hit back’, the defendant said.

But the court recognised not Kardzyukou and the deceased Shutau as victims, but captain Raman Haurylau and warrant officer Arseny Halitsyn who serve in military unit Nr 89417 (special operations forces) in the town of Maryina Horka.

Witness to Henadz Shutau’s murder faces 10 years in jail

Kardzyukou and his lawyer asked the court for acquittal. Public prosecutor Henadz Bury demanded Alyaksandr Kardzyukou be sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony; the judge took heed of the prosecution’s appeal.

On August 11, Henadz Shutau, a father to five kids, was shot in the head during the crackdown on protests in the Belarusian city of Brest. He was at first admitted to Brest regional hospital, but then taken in an unconscious state by helicopter to Minsk military hospital, his diagnosis being ‘open penetrating gunshot wound to skull, brain smash injury. Skull cup multifragmental fracture, skull base affected’. It took the relatives two days to find out what happened and where the casualty was located.

On August 12, the Belarusian Interior Ministry reported that ‘a group of aggressive citizens with bars in their hands’ attacked police officers in Brest the day before. Warning shots up did not stop them, the officials claimed.

“To protect the lives and health of officers, deadly force was used. One of the attackers was wounded,” the statement reads.

On August 19, Henadz Shutau passed away.

‘Shots in silence’: Wounded protester from Brest dies, official version debatable