Former political prisoner to be tried twice for missing lectures


Two summonses to court, photo by Dzmitry Paliyenka

On Tuesday evening, the police came to former political prisoner Dzmitry Paliyenka to interrogate him and draw up a protocol for… missing lectures.

“These are lectures on employment. They are held every day, except Saturdays and Sundays. Dzmitry has to attend them until he ‘finds a job’. Job interviews, personal affairs, illness are not considered as excuses for nonappearance. Indeed, there is common practice to hold such lectures, only during 10 days. However, the number of lectures Dzmitry should attend is unlimited. He is now appealing against it, but as you see, it has been no effect so far,” the activist’s friend Maryna Nasenka told Belsat.

He will have to appear before court on December, 19. Thus, he will be tried twice.

On November 26, the police detained Paliyenka, who had stopped attending lectures assigned to him after his release from the Babruysk colony. After a conversation with a police officer, Paliyenka was taken to the City Police Department No. 2, where he had two protocols drawn on him. As a result, on December 6, Paliyenka will be tried under article 23.4 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (“Failure to comply with the legal requirement of an official”).

He may face an administrative arrest or heavy fines.

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In April 2016, about 35 cyclists gathered in downtown Minsk to take part in the Critical Mass cycling event, an action that was aimed at ‘reclaiming the streets’, i.e. asserting their rights. Although the event was observed by a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the riot police brutally detained several activists, including Paliyenka.

Paliyenka was charged with using violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code). In late August he was accused of… porno-peddling. The court found the activist guilty under the both arlicles: in October, 2016 he was sentenced to two years of impisonment with a two-year reprieve.

A court in Minsk revoked the suspension over alleged violations of related restrictions. Taking into account the time spent in pretrial detention, the judge decided that the activist would spend 18 months and 13 days in prison.

Paliyenka was repeatedly placed in a punishment cell for some minor violations. The political prisoner believes that the ground is being prepared for opening another criminal case against him (wilful standing in contempt of the prison administration).

he was released in late October, 2018. Amnesty International considered Dzmitry Paliyenka a political prisoner.

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