Proceedings were issued against Minsk resident Aleh Dashkevich after he turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus with a complaint about the illegal actions of a KGB officer who, according to him, used blackmail and threats to force him to engage in ‘voluntary assistance to the state security bodies’.
On April 8, the Minsk police showed him the screenshots of photos from his VKontakte page with images of the third Reich flag, an eagle in the sky, supported by flags etc. and said that such images are classified as Nazi symbols. According to the policemen police, such materials are extremist and may be subject to administrative liability for their distribution. Dashkevich was threatened with the possible detention, but then told that there was a chance to avoid punishment. Soon a KGB officer appeared and suggested Aleh could become an unofficial collaborator in exchange for not being charged.
A day later, Dashkevich filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus where he asked to recognize the actions of an employee of the State Security Committee as unlawful. The authorities’ response came quickly.
“On April 11, the police arrived at 8 am and searched my flat. At about 10 am they detained me. In the police station, I was informed that three administrative protocols had been drawn upon me. In court, the judge sentenced me to 15 days in prison (i.e. 5 days for each protocol),” Aleh Dashkevich told Belsat.
According to him, the on-off hearing was being held on April, 11-12. Notably, during the trial, no meals were delivered to the detainee.
“I got a sentence under Art. 17.10 (distributing Nazi symbols), Art. 17.11 (distributing extremist symbols) and Art. 17.14 (distributing techniques of manufacturing explosives). In fact, all the ‘symbols’ were nothing but fine art photos. As for techniques, I did not create and publish them, I just made a repost from the same social network. But the judge failed to give credence to my arguments,” he stressed.
Aleh Dashkevich added that he received a letter saying that the Prosecutor General’s Office had started a check over his complaint.