Critical blogger cleared of embezzlement charges
The Investigative Committee’s office in the city of Biaroza, Brest region, has closed the criminal case against blogger Aliaksandr Kabanau, known for his role in covering the environmental protests in Brest. He was suspected of misappropriation of more than 400 rubles (USD 200) under Art. 211, Part 1 of the Criminal Code.
“The investigator called me today. The criminal case was closed for lack of evidence,” Kabanau said.
In March, the investigators reported that in 2017 Aliaksandr Kabanau received money for the state registration of an association of owners. The blogger argued that he did not steal the money.
Kabanau, together with another critical blogger Siarhei Piatrukhin, have been repeatedly convicted, including for posting videos on a YouTube channel they run to cover the situation around the construction of a battery factory, which local activists say is hazardous for the environment. They were also fined for illegal protesting.
Last year, Siarhei Piatrukhin faced criminal charges under Part 2, Art. 188 (libel) and Part 2, Art. 189 (insult). This April, a court in Brest found the blogger guilty and sentenced him to a fine of 9,180 rubles (USD 4,450). In addition, the blogger was ordered to pay moral damages to the police officers who were found victims in the case (a total of 7,500 rubles).