Belarusian athlete in wheelchair found guilty of participating in unauthorised event

ВViktar Zakharyeu in courtroom. 11 November 2020. Photo:

Viktar Zakharyeu, the only Belarusian crossfit instructor who uses a wheelchair, has been tried in Savetski district court of Minsk on Wednesday. The man has first-degree disability.

He was charged under Art. 23.34 (violating rules of holding mass events). On October 4, the man showed up at the protest march on October, 4.

The hearing was supposed to take place on the first floor, but it was moved to a courtroom on the ground floor because there is no elevator in the building.

ВViktar Zakharyeu at court building. 11 November 2020. Photo:

Policeman Hromau who was giving testimony in court claimed that Zakharyeu took an active part in the rally, chanted ‘Long live Belarus’ and waved his arms. In turn, the defendant opposed, saying that he hardly could be spotted in waving, since he needed to turn the wheels of the chair with the help of his hands.

However, the judge remained dismissive of Viktar Zakharyeu’s words and imposed a fine of 405 rubles on him.

The protest rallies in Belarus have been underway for three months. The major demands are Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s resignation, holding a free and fair election, releasing political prisoners, putting an end to police violence as well as state-run TV stations’ providing people with unbiased and reliable information. According to human rights activists’ estimates, more than 17,000 people have been detained in Belarus since the election day; many of them were beaten or tortured, some were raped. There are at least six death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. Hundreds are parties to criminal proceedings, the number of political prisoners exceeded 120.

People with disabilities protesting in Minsk