Two political prisoners convicted in Minsk
Political prisoners Renata Smirnova and Artsiom Vinakurau were sentenced today to 2 and 3 years of restricted freedom. Both were released after the verdicts were pronounced.
In Smirnova’s trial, the court of Zavodski district ordered so-called “home imprisonment”, a set of restrictions on movement and employment, while Vinakurau received a term in an open penitentiary (so-called “khimiya”). Vinakurau will be sent to serve his sentence if he loses appeal.
Renata Smirnova was convicted under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them) for her involvement in a protest on November 1. The 19-year-old girl was accused of marching at the forefront of the procession and obstructing traffic. According to Minsktrans, the government-owned public transport operator, the protest resulted in 10,689.76 rubles in damages.
Smirnova was detained together with her boyfriend, but soon released. She was re-arrested when trying to leave Belarus and spent several weeks in pre-trial detention.
Artsiom Vinakurau was found guilty of the same charge (Art. 342) for calling on his fellow students to join a strike. According to the police, the 21-year-old 3rd-year student at BSUIR entered a classroom on October 26 and urged the students to stay away from university in an act of protest against the rigged election and police-related violence. After his arrest on October 27, the student spent three months in pre-trial detention.