Political prisoner Anton Bialenski convicted in Minsk
The Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk has convicted political prisoner and former volunteer of Viktar Babaryka's campaign Anton Bialenski under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code, “active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order”, for his involvement in the peaceful protest of August 9, 2020.
Judge Sviatlana Bandarenka found Anton Bialenski guilty and sentenced him to one and a half years in an open correctional facility. Bialenski was released in the courtroom to await an appeal hearing.
According to the indictment, Bialenski joined a group of protesters who grossly violated public order on Masherau Avenue in Minsk. The defendant allegedly shouted slogans, clapped his hands, obstructed public transport and repeatedly refused to obey police officers. He also allegedly called on other demonstrators to commit illegal acts.
As a result, at least five bus routes, four trolleybuses and two trams were stopped.
The political prisoner admitted that he attended a peaceful rally on August 9, where he shouted slogans and clapped his hands, while walking on the roadway. But he claimed he did not disobey police officers and did not persuade other people to join.
Bialenski eventually refused to testify.
His lawyer says that the punishment is excessive.
“How were my client’s actions different from the actions of thousands of other people? To what does he owe such attention? Apparently, because he was a volunteer with Viktar Babaryka’s campaign and the Honest People initiative? There is no evidence that Bialenski grossly violated public order. None of the representatives of the police confirmed that Bialenski actually resisted,” the counsel said.