Vasil Parfiankou sentenced to 12 months in prison

2013 2013-12-05T18:23:18+0300 2013-12-05T18:23:18+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Vasil Parfiankou. Photo by

Vasil Parfiankou. Photo by

The Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk sentenced today former political prisoner Vasil Parfiankou to 1 year of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony on charges of violating preventive police supervision restrictions. He was taken into custody in the courtroom and sent to the detention center.

The preventive supervision for a period of 1 year was imposed on Vasil Parfiankou on January 5, 2012. However, on May 29, 2012, Pershamaiski District Court found the activist guilty of violating the conditions of supervision and sentenced him to 6 months of arrest, which Parfiankou served in penal colony No. 6 in Baranavichy. After his release from prison on February 9, 2013, the preventive supervision was extended for another six months. On July 12, Vasil Parfiankou was again charged under Article 421 of the Criminal Code. However, the case did not reach the court, since on September 21 Vasil Parfiankou was sent to an activity therapy center in the town of Svetlahorsk for 1 year of compulsory treatment for alcoholism.

The trial was scheduled for November 28, but it was eventually postponed to December 5, after the court found that Vasil Parfiankou had not been notified of the trial date five days in advance, as required by the procedural law.

Today, Judge Leanid Yarmolenkau, having examined the materials of the case, announced his verdict: 12 months of penal colony, with the use of coercive measures and security means against persons suffering from chronic alcoholism, pursuant to Art. 107 of the Criminal Code.

In the beginning of the trial, the prosecution representative Mr. Hushevich read all the violations of preventive supervision reportedly committed by Parfiankou between February 16 and June 4. In particular, the activist was absent from the place of his registration after 8 p.m., as required by the conditions for supervision, and failed to appear for registration on certain days at the executive inspection of Pershamaiski district police department.

The prosecutor also mentioned the details of two administrative cases of April 4 and May 17 opened against the former political prisoner for breach of preventive supervision, for which the activist was punished by fines of 800,000 and 3 million rubles, respectively. The latest violation was reportedly committed by Vasil Parfiankou on June 6, when he was 20 minutes late home. This was confirmed by the prosecution witnesses, who however were uncertain as to the exact time of the alleged violation.

Vasil Parfiankou refused to testify in court and pleaded not guilty. He explained that the close attention to him from the law enforcement authorities was nothing but yet another attempt to isolate him for his public activities. The lawyer in his speech drew attention to the fact that Vasil Parfiankou is an active participant of the opposition, who received a prison sentence for his involvement in the events of December 2010. Preventive supervision was imposed on him precisely in order to better control his actions, said the counsel.

She also stressed that the sending of Parfiankou under Article 107 of the Penal Code for compulsory treatment in the activity therapy center raised many questions, because it was preceded by only a formal outpatient examination, which, in her opinion, was not enough to recognize him a person suffering from chronic alcoholism. The administrative cases under Art. 17.3 of the Administrative Code opened for appearing in the state of intoxication in a public place also raise certain doubts, as there isn’t a single report on his state confirmed by a medical examination.

In his final statement, Vasil Parfiankou noted that he never recognized the preventive supervision and therefore does not consider himself guilty.

“I do not repent of anything. I am not a criminal, or a thief, but an ordinary Belarusian and I love my country. The authorities do not need such people, they just want to have me isolated from society,” said Parfiankou.

Vasil Parfiankou still has the possibility of appealing the verdict to the Minsk City Court.