Workers sentenced to prison terms over political strike
Three employees of the government-owned BMZ steel works were found guilty of “breaching public order” (Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code) during a strike demanding political change organized at the enterprise on August 17. Ihar Povarau, who was earlier called a political prisoner, has been sentenced to three years in prison, while Aliaksandr Babrou and Yauhen Hovar – to two and half years each. The fourth defendant in the case, Russian national Pavel Magidov, left the country to escape arrest.
The workers were accused of blocking the movement of support vehicles in an act of protest against election fraud and violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.
The heavy sentence was handed down despite the fact that the employer waived its claims against the defendants, after they compensated 1,088 rubles in alleged losses suffered by the enterprise.
Povarau’s defense lawyer stressed that the defendants had never met each other before the strike. The lawyer also argued that there was no conspiracy between the defendants. Although Povarau was at the factory, he was not the organizer of the strike. Nor did he lead it or shout any slogans.
Hovar's lawyer drew attention to the flaws in the prosecution’s position. He said that there were no aggravating circumstances and the punishment requested by the prosecutor was clearly disproportionate.