Activists involved in ‘graffiti case’ face final charges
Maksim Piakarski, Vadzim Zharomski, Yaraslau Ulyianenkau, and Viachaslau Kasinerau have been invited to the Investigative Committee’s Minsk office to face final charges in the so-called “graffiti case”.
Maksim Piakarski was told during a two-hour interrogation on December 9 that the initial criminal charges he faced for drawing political graffiti (Part 2, Article 339 of the Criminal Code, “hooliganism committed by a group of persons”) had been replaced by Article 341, “desecration of facilities and damage to property.” This article provides for a fine, community service or detention for up to 3 months. In addition, he no longer faces charges of damaging a billboard, but is still accused in the two remaining episodes. Maksim Piakarski said that an examination of graffiti showed that the drawings had no signs of extremism.
Yaraslau Ulyianenkau has been cleared of all the charges. As a result, he will testify in the case as a witness.
Vadzim Zharomski was questioned yesterday. He told the human rights defenders that he still faced charges under Part 2, Article 339 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by group of persons) and Article 341 of the Criminal Code added (desecration of facilities and damage to property).
Viachaslau Kasinerau, who was interrogated today, is no longer accused of the episode with graffiti, but faces charges of damaging a billboard, which has been fully compensated by the activists. The final charges have been brought under Art. 339, Part 2 of the Criminal Code.
The four activists, together with a citizen of the Russian Federation Pavel (last name unknown), were brutally detained during a police raid on August 11. The latter two were later released on bail, while Maksim Piakarski and Vadzim Zharomski were taken into custody before charges were brought against them. Viachaslau Kasinerau was in custody in hospital, where he was placed with a double fracture of the jaw inflicted as a result of detention by the Interior Ministry officers.
On August 20, the Investigative Committee officially charged Maksim Piakarski and Vadzim Zharomski under Part 2, Art. 339 of the Criminal Code, “hooliganism committed by a group of persons”. The activists faced restriction of freedom for up to three years, or imprisonment for one to six years.
Later, Maksim Piakarski and Vadzim Zharomski were released on bail.