Minsk City court will start hearing the trial of anarchist and former political prisoner Zmitser Paliyenka on September 25 at 10:00, svaboda.org reports.
According to the Investigative Committee, on March 13, Zmitser Paliyenka sprayed pepper gas from a can in the face of a man who allegedly reprimanded him for smoking at the entrance to the building. According to Paliyenka’s friends, it was self-defense from a drunk attacker. On March 20, he was brutally detained by the police in his flat. A week later, it became known that he was on a hunger strike behind bars.
He was charged only on April 5 (although he should have been charged within 10 days).
By the moment, five cases have been brought against him:
Paliyenka may face up to ten years in a penal colony.
In October 2016, Zmitser Paliyenka was given a suspended sentence of 2 years for allegedly attacking a policeman during the bicycle campaign ‘Critical Mass’, which took place in Minsk. In addition, the activist was charged with committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 343 of the Criminal Code (production and distribution of pornographic materials or items of a pornographic nature).
Last year, Paliyenka was arrested again: on April 7, 2017, the court overturned the deferment and sent the activist to serve the remainder of his term in a prison in Babruysk. There he was regularly placed in a punishment cell, the administration also pressured the activist psychologically.
The international human rights organization Amnesty International recognized Paliyenka a prisoner of conscience; he pleaded not guilty. Belarusian human rights activists demanded the release of the activist calling the sentence ‘politically motivated’.