Bullied and sentenced to jail for ‘political’ scarf

Savetski district court. Photo: Belsat

Yahor Tsyhvintsau, 35, was detained along with his wife on March 25. They were walking along Pritytski Street when a police van stopped and unknown people ran out to detain them, reports HRC Viasna.

The reason was them wearing “political” colors. Yahor was wearing a white and black jacket and a red and black scarf, while his wife was wearing a red jacket and a white scarf. In the bus, Yahor was asked to show what was in his backpack.

During the examination he asked if there would be a protocol. In response they tightened his hands with a zip tie, asked if it was comfortable, and tightened it even more. After that, Yahor asked no more questions.

At the Frunzenski police station, when they described the items in his backpack, they found two bottles of water, cookies, and a carton of cigarettes. One of the police officers exclaimed: “There you go, they’ve got supplies!” This drew the attention of the RUVD officers, so the man was asked to unlock his phone, but he refused. Yahor was taken out of the hall where all the detainees had been held and taken to the basement where they began beating him.

At the court, Yahor stated that “two policemen in plain clothes inflicted a number of bodily injuries”. As a result, he still had to unlock his phone.

Also, the police department did not explain to Tsyhvintsau his rights and denied him a lawyer.

At the trial Yahor told about the police forcing him to sign a report under Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences. He wanted to thoroughly familiarize himself with the reports and asked a lot of questions, but three policemen wanted to speed up the process. The workers lined up around Yahor and one of them pressed his elbow in front of his wife until the man signed the report, according to which he “took part in an unauthorized mass event on Pushkina Prospect”.

Yahor’s case was not on the court schedule. Having heard all the evidence, judge Maryna Fyodarava ruled on March 26 to sentence the man to 15 days of arrest.