IT student gets term over disrupting lecture, calling for strike at university

Аrtsyom Vinakurau convicted under ‘political’ Article 342 of Criminal Code. Minsk, 29 January 2021. Photo: Belsat

On January 29, Artsyom Vinakurau, a 21-year-old student of the Belarusian University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR), was tried in Savetski district court of Minsk.

He was charged under Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code (‘organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order’).

On October 26, Vinakurau entered a classroom, where Dean Leanid Shylin was teaching, and called on the students to join the nationwide strike. Two days later, he was arrested; the Belarusian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against him. Human rights activists recognised the young man as a political prisoner. He was awaiting trial in the remand prison in the town of Zhodzina.

Аrtsyom Vinakurau convicted under ‘political’ Article 342 of the Criminal Code. Minsk, 29 January 2021. Photo: Belsat

Judge Maryna Fyodarava brought in the verdict of guilty and sentenced the defendant to three years of restriction of liberty; it was the penalty demanded by the prosecution.

Today Artsyom Vinakurau has been released in the courtroom. The student has the right to appeal against the verdict in the coming ten days; he is allowed to spend this time at home. If the sentence is not reviewed, the political prisoner will be sent to an open-type correctional facility.

As reported earlier, Alyaksandr Lukashenka held a meeting with students of the Belarusian State University on Friday morning. According to him, ‘universities are no place for political rallies’; he told the participants in the meeting that no one could forbid them to speak out, but warned against ‘violating the law’.

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