On January 26th , Minsk Court sentenced Zmitser Ushatski from Minsk to two years of imprisonment without sending him to an open institution. The reason was the insult of the Interior Ministry press-secretary Volha Chamadanava, reports the human rights center Viasna.
According to investigators, a 43-year-old man posted a comment “in obscene and rude foul language about the post and stars” in the telegram-chat “Banda Luki” (Luka’s gang). At the same time, the post was not made public in court. Ushatski allegedly wanted to retaliate against Chamadanava for her official comment about conditions in Akrestsina jail.
The defendant pleaded guilty and apologized to Chamadanava at the hearing. The man saw the comment of the Interior Ministry spokesperson on the detention of Syarhei Tsikhanouski. This is what caused his indignation.
“I was outraged. I was outraged by the circumstances of Tsikhanouski’s detention. I had an idea that he was detained then, so to speak, not quite lawfully. Some kind of provocative actions were committed against him by a civilian. She was later identified as a woman of easy virtue, who participated in the provocation”.
Ushatski also notes that he is not particularly interested in politics and did not take part in pickets in support of Tsikhanouski and did not even vote in the last year’s elections. He denies that he left a comment under the statement about the conditions of detention in Akrestsina jail, as he has never been there and was not detained under article 23.34.
Chamadanava was not subscribed to the “Banda Luki” telegram chat. A screenshot of the comment was sent to her by Natallia Hanusevich, head of public relations of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of Minsk City Executive Committee. The press-secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t go on sick leave, but claims that the commentary certainly affected her health. She estimated her moral suffering at 5,000 rubles. Ushatski agreed in part and was ready to reimburse 3,000 rubles.
The prosecutor demanded almost the most severe punishment provided by part 2 of article 369 of the Criminal Code – two years of “home imprisonment”. Judge Akavitaya supported him. In addition, the man must pay 5,000 rubles of moral damage.