Criminal case launched after person shouts ‘Long Live Belarus’ in court

Liudzmila Pyatrova, head of Smarhon court. Photo:

On 18 February Smarhon District Court pronounced the verdict in the criminal case against Ruslan Valiuk (two years of freedom restriction) and Iryna Markova (two years of freedom restriction at home) for “slander”. According to Nasha Niva media outlet, they had allegedly distributed leaflets in the town of Smarhon, which were insulting to the police.

When the verdict had already been passed, someone shouted “Zhyve Belarus” (Long Live Belarus) in the court corridor, while some responded with “Zhyve”. At the same time in the next hall the criminal case was being considered, headed by the head of Smarhon court Liudzmila Pyatrova.

Pyatrova came out of the hall, said that it was disrespect to the court and threatened to call the police while standing at the turnstile and not letting anyone out of the courtroom. Then people just opened the windows and started jumping out onto the snow.

A criminal case under article “hooliganism” was opened. Among the suspects were all the people who were present at the sentencing of Valiuk and Markava. There was a video recording of the hearing, but it is impossible to see who exactly shouted “Zhyve Belarus” on the video, as the video is of poor quality.

Detentions in Smarhon continue, mother of two minor children Nina Shysh has been detained. Her supporters hope that she will be released.