One more post-election verdict: 1 year in prison over anti-government graffiti
Stefan Lazavik, a 27-year-old former election observer, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for spray-painting a slogan allegedly insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka on a bus stop shelter in the city of Horki, 85 km northeast of Mahilioŭ.
On November 26, the district court found him guilty under Art. 341 of the Criminal Code (desecration of structures and damage to property) for a phrase reading “He lost and started killing. B…..d, resign!”
Lazavik says that he was too emotional after he learned that police used widespread violence to disperse post-election protests.
Initially, local police refused to open a case, saying that the act did not constitute a crime, and the man faced charges of “desecration of structures and damage to property” under Art. 341 of the Criminal Code one month after the incident, after the prosecutor’s office overrode the police department’s decision.
The defendant says that he was forced to confess in exchange for a non-custodial sentence, given that the charge could not result in a prison term. The investigators said that the promise still held even after the charge was recategorized as “malicious hooliganism”, an offense carrying up to three years in prison.