Two Minskers facing 10 years in prison over inscription on sidewalk
In September, two residents of Minsk, a man and a woman, were detained after they tried to repaint an inscription on the sidewalk near the memorial to Aliaksandr Taraikouski, the first victim of police violence who was killed on October 10. The inscription on the asphalt said, “We Will Not Forget!” Now they are charged with two articles of the Criminal Code, for which they face up to 10 years in prison, TUT.BY said.
On September 9, Maryia Babovich, 25, used white ground color to write the first two letters of the phrase near the Puškinskaja metro station, the spot where Taraikouski was shot dead by a law enforcement officer. The girl was charged with criminal hooliganism but soon released. The charges was later reclassified as “desecration of buildings and damage to property.” The investigation argued that the damage amounted at over 10 thousand rubles (approx. USD 4,000).
As a result, Babovich ended in pre-trial detention charged with both offenses, according to her lawyer Andrei Machalau.
The other defendant in the upcoming trial is Dzianis Hrakhanau, 42, who helped restore the memorial inscription after it was removed by the municipal cleaning service.
According to his mother, Dzianis was identified through street CCTV cameras. The police came after him the following day, October 10, and he spent three nights in detention.
“He was released on September 13. They said there was going to be a trial. On October 22, they came again and took him for a “talk” with the investigator. But he never returned. At first, the investigator said that he would be transferred to Žodzina, but I still don’t know where he is,” his mother Dzina said.
What is known is that Dzianis Hrakhanau is facing the same charges as Maryia Babovich, “hooliganism” (Part 2 of Art. 339) and “damage of property” (Part 2 of Art. 218 of the Criminal Code).
Dzianis’s family learned from his counsel that the man continues to maintain his innocence.
Since the beginning of the 2020 presidential election campaign, more than 500 criminal cases have been opened to target presidential nominees, members of their campaign headquarters, participants in post-election protests, bloggers and opposition activists.