Political prisoner Viachaslau Papou sentenced to three years of “khimiya” over post-election protests, released in the courtroom
The Lieninski District Court of Minsk convicted political prisoner Viachaslau Papou, who was accused of “active participation in group actions that grossly violated public order” (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code). The charges stemmed from Papou’s involvement in the post-election protests of August and September 2020.
According to the indictment, Viachaslau Papou took an active part in several illegal protests, walking on the road, shouting slogans, obstructing traffic, and “violating public order and the rights of decent citizens to quiet work and rest.” On August 9, he also used obscene language towards law enforcement officers. On September 27, among other things, he put a sticker on a traffic light and shouted the slogan “Long live Belarus”. All these actions, according to the prosecutor, constituted a crime under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code.
The accused was detained on March 10, 2021 and has been in custody ever since.
Papou pleaded guilty. He explained that he participated in the protests knowingly, but did not know that it could lead to criminal liability.
The defendant stressed that he did not want to and never did anything wrong. He just learned from the Telegram channels where people were gathering and went there. He admitted that he had insulted the police officers because he could was too emotional after he saw them beating people and grenades exploding under their feet.
At the beginning of the trial, the prosecutor filed a motion to examine a claim of 61,650 rubles 99 kopecks filed by the city public transport operator Minsktrans for compensation of material damage allegedly caused by the protests.
The lawyer, in response, noted the absurdity of the claim against his client alone, since thousands of people took part in the protests.
As a result, Judge Yuliya Shut sentenced Viachaslau Papou to three years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility (“khimiya”).
The convict was released in the courtroom, but will remain under travel restrictions until the verdict is final.