Head of Hrodna UPB Office Mechyslau Iaskevich Is Fined
On 9 February Hrodna Kastrychnitski borough court ruled to fine Mechyslau Iaskevich 1 240 000 rubles (about 600 US dollars) and oblige him to pay 500 000 rubles (about 240 US dollars) for compensation of harm to the plaintiff, Ihar Sapko. The activist of the Union of Poles of Belarus was charged under part 1 of article 339 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism), which is punished with corrective labor, fine, up to 6 months of arrest or up to 2 years of jail.
‘It is an unprecedented trial. The criminal case was considered for one day, as a usual administrative case. The court didn’t agree to listen to a number of witnesses of the defense and ignored considerable differences in the testimonies of the accusation’s witnesses,’ commented Andrei Pachobut.
According to him, this trial had evident political motivation. ‘Even the accusation witnesses arrived to the court in the same car with the plaintiff, and their car was guarded by the police… Of course, we are glad, because even such fine can’t be compared to 2 years of jail. I think that the court decision was influenced by the public reaction: more than a hundred persons came to the court to support Iaskevich and more than a 1 000 signatures of support had been collected and passed to the court’, stated Pachobut.
As soon as Mr. Iaskevich didn’t take the blame, he would most probably appeal the verdict to a higher court instance.