Vitsebsk: Young artist sentenced to 2 years in jail over ‘attempt to hit policeman’

Uladzislau Makavetski. photo:

Uladzislau Makavetski, a 27-year-old artist from Vitsebsk, has been sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony, our local journalist reports.

The verdict was passed on December, 16 in Kastrychnitski district court of Vitsebsk. Judge Snyazhana Kindzeyeva found Makavetski guilty of using violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code).

The incident took place on September, 6 during a protest march on Prauda Street in Vitsebsk. According to the prosecution’s statement, Makavetski took a swing at a policeman with a rubber truncheon, intended to hit him, grabbed him by hands and made verbal threats.

The prosecutor demanded the Vitsebsk resident receive a three-year jail term. The defense lawyer, in turn, asked to acquit the client due to absence of crime in the act. In his last word in court, Uladzislau Makavetski urged the judge not to inflict a stiff penalty on him.

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For over four months, the protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as bringing to justice those involved in battering and torturing peaceful demonstrators.

Since August 9, around 31,000 people have been detained across the country. Many of them were beaten, some were raped. There are at least seven death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. Hundreds of persons, including Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova, are parties to criminal proceedings, the number of political prisoners exceeded 150. Several thousand detainees filed complaints against police officers’ illegal actions to the Investigative Committee. However, not a single criminal case has been opened over the citizens’ appeals.

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