Elderly woman having health issues gets 14-day jail term over reportedly showing V sign

On Monday, 66-year-old Zoya Karotkina was tried in Tsentralny district court of Minsk. The woman was found guilty of ‘violating rules of holding mass events’ (Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences) and sentenced to 14 days of administrative arrest. When rendering the verdict, the court failed to take her health state into account.

The Minsker was detained on January 23, when solidarity action were taking place in the Belarusian capital city. On her way to the shop, Zoya stopped to keep watch for a while, but she denies her being a participant in the rally. According to her, ‘she did not know that she was breaking any rules’.

Marches and solidarity protests held in Belarus

The protocol drawn upon her quotes Zoya Karotkina’s words about her showing a victory sign to the cars which were moving along Independence Avenue. However, the pensioner stresses that she never gave such evidence. A policeman who witnessed against her in court was wearing a mask. According to him, the riot policemen and him were detaining two persons who ‘violated public order’. Notably, he made mistakes when mentioning the defendant’s last name, first name and patronymic.

In the course of the hearing, Zoya Karotkina said she was in post-cancer remission and had grave health concerns. However, that fact did not affect judge Karsyuk‘s decision.

When reached by Onliner, Zoya’s husband Anatol says that his wife who underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments has a whole bunch of diseases, including glaucoma, lung injuries, hypertension. He has been allowed to hand over medicines to the detention centre, but the prison authorities have refused to take water and food products for Zoya.

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