Political prisoner Maryna Hlazava sentenced to 18 months of ‘home imprisonment’
The Lieninski District Court of Brest has handed down the first verdicts in the criminal case of the “dancing protest” held on September 13. The case was opened under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code and involved dozens of people. Today Judge Sviataslau Kalina sentenced the first ten defendants to up to two years of restricted freedom.
Political prisoner Maryna Hlazava – 1 ½ years of restricted freedom (“home imprisonment”);
Yaraslau Yarashuk – 1 ½ years of restricted freedom (“home imprisonment”);
Vadzim Varanovich and Maksim Zharau – 2 years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility (“khimiya”);
Yauhen Kalpachyk, Viktar Dzenisenka, Aliaksei Yakubuk, Vital Litvin and Mikalai Fedarenka – 1 ½ years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility (“khimiya”);
Maryna Siretsan – 1 year of restricted freedom (“home imprisonment”).
According to the indictment, each of the ten defendants, acting together with other persons, intentionally and grossly violated public order. Their actions were allegedly combined with a clear disobedience to the lawful demands of the authorities, causing disruption of public transport and the work of businesses and organizations. In particular, due to downtime, the public transport fleet reportedly suffered 650 rubles in losses, while several concession stands and a fast food restaurant were closed for several hours.
The incident took place on September 13, during a weekly protest known as the March of Heroes. Hundreds of Brest residents took to the streets to sing songs and dance. The event, however, was soon dispersed by security forces, who used a water cannon.
According to Deputy Interior Minister Henadz Kazakevich, this was the first case in the history of modern Belarus when a water cannon was used against participants in an unauthorized gathering.
On February 15, the Lieninski District Court of Brest started hearing the charges brought against ten more persons held in the case.
According to the authorities, an investigation targeting the third group of protesters has already been completed. Eleven people were charged and are expected to stand trials in the coming weeks.