Dead protester convicted of attempted murder

2021 2021-02-25T12:35:45+0300 2021-02-25T16:19:18+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Henadz Shutau

Henadz Shutau

Henadz Shutau, a protester killed in Brest on August 11, has been found guilty of attempting to murder a law enforcement officer, according to a ruling by the Brest Regional Court. His friend, Aliaksandr Kardziukou, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the same charge.

The alleged victims are two servicemen of military unit No. 89417 of the Interior Ministry’s special operations forces, Warrant Officer Arseni Halitsyn and Captain Raman Haurylau. They were in civilian clothes and armed with Makarov pistols.

Haurylau said that Shutau and Kardziukou fought with them. He reportedly fired a warning shot, then wanted to shoot Shutau in the shoulder, but hit the back of the head.

The judge asked Haurylau why he did not aim at Shutau’s leg. The victim replied that he was afraid to shoot himself.

When asked if Haurylau could have avoided shooting Shutau in the head and saving his life, he replied, “I did everything I could. I felt unwell”.

Henadz Shutau died eight days later in a Minsk military hospital.

Captain Raman Haurylau and Warrant Officer Arseni Halitsyn
Captain Raman Haurylau and Warrant Officer Arseni Halitsyn

Initially, Aliaksandr Kardziukou was accused of resisting a police officer (Part 2, Article 363 of the Criminal Code) and faced up to five years in prison. The charge was later reclassified as attempted murder, which could have resulted in a life imprisonment.

Aliaksandr Kardziukou on trial
Aliaksandr Kardziukou on trial

At the trial, Kardziukou stressed that he did not know that the victims were law enforcement officers, since they were without uniforms and did not show their IDs.

According to RFE/RL’s Belarus service, the order to use weapons during the August 11 protest was given by the commander of the Special Operations Forces of Belarus, Major General Vadzim Dzenisenka. This became known from the testimony of witness Labkovich, a major of unit 89417 and the immediate superior of Halitsyn and Haurylau.