Minsk courts convict two more political prisoners
The Zavodski District Court of Minsk has sentenced 26-year-old political prisoner Siarhei Bryl, a locksmith from Barysaŭ, to three years of “khimiya”, restricted freedom in an open penitentiary. Judge Henadz Yankouski found him guilty under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code for calling to use violence in a Telegram chat “Drivers 97%”, as well as for participation in the August protests. Bryl initially faced charges under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code, but then the case was reclassified to a milder charge. The political prisoner has been detained since September 23, and on March 17 he was released in the courtroom after the verdict was announced. Minsktrans, the government-owned public transport operator, has filed a lawsuit in the amount of 38 thousand rubles to compensate for the damage allegedly caused by the defendant’s actions during the protests.
At the trial, the political prisoner’s guilt was substantiated by screenshots of posts in the Telegram chat “Drivers 97%”. They included calls to “turn over police buses!”. Siarhei Bryl was also accused of taking part in rallies on August 9, 10 and 16. There is no photo or video evidence of his participation in the demonstrations, but Siarhei himself did not deny his involvement in the protests.
Siarhei Bryl was detained on September 23 in Minsk while at work. He was then interrogated without a lawyer and detained for 72 hours. Bryl was placed in a temporary detention facility, and then transferred to the pre-trial prison. His home was searched and all IT equipment was confiscated.
Political prisoner Ivan Datsyshyn has been convicted in the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk. Judge Tatsiana Pirozhnikava found him guilty under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to four years in a medium-security penal colony.
The 21-year-old is a fourth-year student at the Faculty of Radiophysics and Computer Technologies of the Belarusian State University.
Datsyshyn was accused of attending a protest held on August 11 in Minsk’s Dziarzhynski Avenue, which the investigation said was a riot. In particular, the political prisoner allegedly threw a rock at a police vehicle.
A police officer who testified at the trial said that he was attacked by one of the protesters. However, neither he nor other riot policemen saw the attacker. Moreover, the man they were trying to detain as a result was tall and strong, not like the defendant.