Political prisoner Yauhen Kakhanouski sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison
Political prisoner Yauhen Kakhanouski has been sentenced to three and a half years in a general-security penal colony. Another defendant in the case, Dzmitry Hopta, was sentenced to two years.
Judge Iryna Pradun of the Žlobin District Court found Kakhanouski and Hopta guilty under Part 1 of Art. 342 (organization or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order) and Art. 364 (violence or threat of violence against a police officer) of the Criminal Code.
Kakhanouski was detained on August 27. Before the trial, he was held in a pre-trial detention center in Homieĺ. Hopta was under a written undertaking not to leave the country. The judge ordered his immediate arrest in the courtroom.
Kakhanouski and Hopta were accused of “taking an active part in an unauthorized mass event, moving as part of a group of people on the roadway, which led to the rerouting of several city buses from August 9 to 11, 2020.”
Afterwards, Kahanouski allegedly used violence against police officers, kicking and hitting their uniforms and shields, and throwing stones, bottles and other objects at them.
Kakhanouski also allegedly threw stones at a vehicle carrying law enforcement officers. As a result of this, three cars were reportedly damaged, including police vehicles, which caused a total damage of 1,160 rubles (approx. 365 euros). Hopta was also accused of throwing at least one stone.
Yauhen Kakhanouski pleaded not guilty. Dzmitry Hopta pleaded guilty.
Ahead of the trial, Kakhanouski filed a complaint against the police for beating him. The claim, however, was turned down and no investigation was launched.
Kakhanouski’s lawyer Krasnou said that his client was not guilty since his guilt was not proven. He also argued that Kakhanouski could only be prosecuted under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code (illegal protesting), but he has already served his sentence for this offense.
Hopta’s lawyer Alena Pryshchep says that the punishment requested by the prosecutor is too severe. She stresses that Hopta suffers from a mental disorder and requires medical supervision and treatment.