Young people convicted for clashing with police recognized as political prisoners

Belarusian human rights activists have declared the residents of Maladzechna who had been convicted the day before for resisting the police as political prisoners.

The joint statement of human rights defenders, which was published on the Viasna website, notes that “the imprisonment of Pavel Pyaskou and Uladzislau Yaustihneyeu was done in violation of the right to a fair trial; the duration and conditions of imprisonment are clearly disproportionate (inadequate) to the offense in which the indicated persons were found guilty; the accused are deprived of their liberty selectively in comparison with other persons”.

It also states that “in conditions of lack of freedom, the life and health of the accused may be in danger”.

Therefore, representatives of Belarusian human rights organizations announced the recognition of Pavel Pyaskou and Uladzislau Yaustihneyeu as political prisoners.

Human rights activists demand their immediate release from custody and “review of the measures and court decisions taken against them, while respecting the right to a fair trial and eliminating the factors that influenced the verdict”.

The Maladzechna residents were tried under Part 2 of Article 363 of the Criminal Code of Belarus for resisting the riot police with the use of violence during the conflict with the security forces at a peaceful rally on June 19, when the riot policeman pulled out a pistol. The court found the young people guilty and punished them with imprisonment in a general regime colony: Pavel Pyaskou was sentenced tor 3 years and 3 months, and Uladzislau Yaustihneyeu to 3 years. This was the punishment that the prosecutor Syarhei Habrukovich was asking for.

The 25-year-old Uladzislau Yaustihneyeu was detained to serve his sentence in the courtroom immediately after the verdict was announced. Pavel Pyaskou, 31, was moved from house arrest to detention on September 18. These 11 days will count towards the 3.3-year prison sentence.

On June 19, in Maladzechna, near a police bus, protesters tried to recapture the detained Mikalai Aleinik from the security forces. The video shows how at a certain moment one of the riot policemen takes out a pistol. The Investigative Committee of Belarus, however, did not open a case against the security official. Three participants of the conflict were prosecuted under article 363 “Resistance to an employee of the internal affairs bodies or other person protecting public order”. The third suspect in this case, Uladzimir Nepahoda, is now on the wanted list.