Political prisoner Yauhen Dzmitryeu sentenced to two years in jail

Yauhen Dzmitryeu in court. Photo: Radio Svaboda

On Friday, Tsentralny district court of Minsk announced a guilty verdict in the case of 26-year-old political prisoner Yauhen Dzmitryeu, human rights centre Viasna reports.

According to public prosecutor Artsyom Tsvyatkou, Dzmitryeu ‘attended an unauthorised event on October 4’ in Minsk; there he stood in a human chain and repeatedly stepped onto the roadway. He was arrested on the same day; Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised him as a political prisoner.

On that day, a water cannon broke down during March for Release of Political Prisoners in the Belarusian capital city, which enthused both protesters and netizens. Shortly before, Yauhen, who was influenced by emotions, threw a piece of a metal pipe at the vehicle, which the investigation considered as readiness to attack the police officers who was driving the water cannon. However, the two men, Mikalai Hlukhatarenka and Yauhen Lashkouski, did not have any claims against the defendant and said in court they did not even remember him.

Маrch in Minsk. 4 October 2020. Photo: ТК / belsat.eu

The accusation of violence or threat of violence against a police officer (Art. 364 of the Criminal Code) was dropped, but the man was found guilty of organising group actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342-1 of the Criminal Code).

“I am not a bad person and for sure, I am not a criminal. I used to work at a unit of the Emergency Situations Ministry as a firefighting rescuer. I did make a faux pas for the first time in my life, and I promise not to do so again,” he said in his last plea.

Yauhen Dzmitryeu partially admitted guilt (only on the charge under Art. 342-1). Nevertheless, judge Yuliya Hustyr sentenced him to two years of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony.

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