Two 18-year-old protesters get prison terms over drawing on Rubezh defensive system shields

Trial of Tsikhan Klyukach and Safiya Malashevich. 21 January 2021. Photo:

On January 22, Kastrychnitski district court of Minsk delivered a verdict in the case of protesters Safiya Malashevich and Tsikhan Klyukach.

The youngsters were taken into custody after being spotted in covering the Rubezh defensive system shields with drawings not far from Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s residence in Victors’ Avenue during People’s Unity March that was held in the Belarusian capital city on September, 6.

They were charged under Art. 339-1 of the Criminal Code (‘malicious hooliganism’); Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (‘organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them’). Safiya was also accused of public insulting the president (Art. 368).

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In the course of hearings, photos and videos of protests which Safiya had posted on Telegram were shown. On January 21, a riot policeman who had seen the girl drawing on the shields witnessed against her in court: “It was hard not to notice her. I remember her behaviour: she was dancing and showing disrespect to officers.”

On Friday, Safiya has got a two-year term in a minimum-security penal colony, Tsikhan has been sentenced to 1.5 years of imprisonment in low-security prison. The sentences passed by judge Volha Nyaborskaya fully conform to prosecutor Ulyana Rudnitskaya’s demand.

“In my opinion, the punishment is not proportioned to the gravity of the offence. I am going to appeal against the ruling,” Safiya’s defence lawyer Maksim Aheyeu says.

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