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Sisters sentenced to prison terms in political trial

2021 2021-04-01T15:22:34+0300 2021-04-01T15:28:20+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Judge Aliaksandr Volk of the Saviecki District Court of Minsk has sentenced Anastasiya Mirontsava and Viktoryia Mirontsava, both political prisoners, to two and two and a half years in prison, respectively, finding the sisters guilty of “breaching public order” (Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code) and “using violence against police officers” (Part 1 of Art. 363).

Anastasiya, 24, and Viktoryia, 26, were accused of joining a protest held in central Minsk on August 10. They reportedly shouted slogans and clapped their hands, while refusing to leave the street.

According to the investigation, these actions led to a “prolonged disturbance of public peace,” obstruction of public and other transport, and interfered with the regular operation of the Minsktrans city transport operator, which requested 21,831 rubles in damages.

The same day, the girls allegedly resisted arrest. In particular, Anastasiya grabbed the right arm of a police officer who fell, as a result. Viktoryia physically resisted detention, including by breaking the lock applied by a riot police officer.

Anastasiya Mirontsava’s defense counsel noted in her closing statement that the prosecution had not presented any evidence that would confirm the guilt of her client in committing a crime under Part 1 of Art. 342. In particular, there is no evidence that any of the officers called on Anastasiya to leave the street, nor was it proven that the girl was walking on the roadway of Victory Avenue and her actions caused a traffic disruption. All videos played at the trial failed to confirm the girl’s guilt in committing criminal acts.

The lawyer stressed that the indictment lists all the routes of public transport, the work of which was disrupted on August 10, and their indication in the indictment is unfounded.

In addition, the case file contains an act provided by Minsktrans, which argues that the buses could not run from 8:10 pm, August 10. Meanwhile, under the detention report and the ruling in the administrative trial the defendant stood after her arrest, Mirontsava was detained at 7:30 pm, and thus could not disrupt the transport.

Speaking about the charges under Art. 364 of the Criminal Code – violence or threat of violence against five riot police officers – the lawyer said that despite Anastasiya’s guilty plea​​, four of the five alleged victims should never be mentioned in the case file, as they explained in court that their girl did not use violence against them.

Riot police officers named as victims in the case during the trial of the Mirontsava sisters. Photo:
Riot police officers named as victims in the case during the trial of the Mirontsava sisters. Photo:

As for the victim Vasiliyeu, the indictment said that Anastasiya grabbed his arm at least twice and that he fell because of the girl’s actions. However, in court the police officer testified that Mirontsava grabbed his arm only once and could not explain why he fell.

She also asked the court to exclude from the indictment the motive of revenge in using violence against the officers, as it was never proved in court.

The defense counsel asked the judge to take into account that the victims were not injured and did not seek medical help. She also stressed some of the police officers asked the court not to punish the defendants severely.

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