9 people convicted in Brest ‘rioting’ trial
On March 10, the Maskoŭski District Court of Brest has sentenced nine people to various terms of imprisonment ranging between 3 and 4 1/2 years on charges of involvement in “mass riots” (Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code) on August 10, 2020. The convicts include seven political prisoners. Two juvenile convicts were taken into custody in the courtroom. 29 people were called victims in the case, most of them being police officers, while the damage was estimated at 27,000 rubles.
Judge Vera Filonik ordered the following sentences:
political prisoner Tsimur Ryzapur – 4.5 years in a medium-security penal colony;
political prisoner Aliaksandr Drazdou – 4.5 years in a medium-security penal colony;
political prisoner Illia Mihno – 4.5 years in a medium-security penal colony;
political prisoners Yahor Prakapchuk and Vital Prakapchuk (father and son) – 4 years in a medium-security penal colony;
political prisoner Siarhei Salokha – 4 years in a medium-security penal colony;
political prisoner Siarhei Kryuchenia – 3.5 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Siarhei Hatskevich (minor, high school student) – 3 years in a juvenile penitentiary;
Dzianis Khazei (minor, college student) – 3 years in a juvenile penitentiary.
The tenth defendant is Vitaliya Bandarenka, who did not appear at the trial after she left the country. On February 27, the girl returned to Belarus, and on March 1 she was arrested. Human rights activists called her a political prisoner.
None of the defendants fully admitted their guilt. Most pleaded guilty in part, saying that they attended the protest but did not use violence or destroy property.
According to the indictment, on August 10, 2020, during an unauthorized mass event in the center of Brest, the ten demonstrators “violated public order and committed pogroms.” After that, they allegedly used violence, beating police officers with their hands and feet, and applying various objects. Boards, sticks, street rubbish bins, fragments of benches, paving slabs and asphalt, bottles, stones, metal bolts, paint containers, pyrotechnics were reportedly used for this purpose. The defendants then “deliberately destroyed and damaged vehicles and other property belonging to the law enforcement, individuals and legal entities.”
One police officer suffered a minor injury of his finger, while more than 25 policemen were allegedly beaten.