More political prisoners convicted in Brest
The Lieninski District Court of Brest announced its verdict in another trial involving participants in a September 2020 demonstration dubbed as a “dancing protest” by domestic media, sentencing fourteen more defendants, including three political prisoners, to various terms of restricted freedom (imprisonment in open penitentiaries).
Former Belarus-4 TV presenter Kanstantsin Svidunovich, Illia Yahorau, and Siarhei Kananovich were sentenced to 18 months of “khimiya” imprisonment, after spending five months in pre-trial detention. They were released in the courtroom to wait for their appeal hearings.
According to the prosecution, each of the defendants, on September 13, 2020, acting in a group together with other persons “intentionally took an active part in group actions that grossly violated public order.” Their actions were allegedly combined with a clear disobedience to the lawful demands of the authorities, causing disruption of transport, businesses and organizations. In particular, the protest reportedly resulted in 619.55 rubles in losses suffered by the trolleybus operator and 40.37 rubles – by the bus depot. It also forced two street concession stands to and a fast food restaurant to close for several hours.
The protesters faced criminal charges after walking on the street at an intersection in central Brest. They chanted “This is our square!”, danced and sang protest songs. The protest was dispersed by a water cannon, as a result.
83 people have already been convicted in the “dancing protest trials”, some of them having been sent to prison.