14 defendants in political trial get lengthy prison terms
The Maskoŭski District Court of Brest ruled today in the “rioting” case (Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code) against fourteen political prisoners accused of participating in riots on the night of August 9, 2020, in Pinsk. The victims of the case were 109 police officers and officials, who demanded a total of about 530,000 rubles in compensation from the political prisoners. The officers justified their moral suffering by allegedly experiencing “fear, humiliation, pain and shame” as a result of the events. They also reportedly lost sleep, peace and appetite, and continue to feel anxiety. Judge Yauhen Brehan sentenced all the 14 defendants in the political trial to prison terms ranging between five and a half and six and a half years.
Raman Bahnavets – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Daniil Bohnat – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Ryhor Hunko – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Siarhei Liazhenka – 6 years of a medium-security penal colony;
Stanislau Mikhailau – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Alena Maushuk – 6 ½ years in a general-security penal colony;
Siarhei Maushuk – 6 ½ years in a medium-security penal colony;
David Mastsitski – 5 ½ years in a medium-security penal colony;
Viachaslau Rahashchuk – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Aleh Rubets – 5 ½ years in a medium-security penal colony;
Ihar Salavei – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Aliaksandr Tsiareshka – 6 ½ years in a medium-security penal colony;
Artur Khalimonchyk – 6 years in a medium-security penal colony;
Viachaslau Sheliamet – 5 ½ years in a medium-security penal colony.
All the political prisoners, except Daniil Bohnat, Ihar Salavei and Stanislau Mikhailau, pleaded guilty in part. The three defendants pleaded not guilty. Some explained that they were not going to injure police officers, and only struck the shields, others did not agree with the number of blows they allegedly inflicted. Nor do they admit prior intent and conspiracy.
All but Siarhei Maushuk were kept in Brest pre-trial prison No. 7. Maushuk was placed under house arrest, while his wife Alena Maushuk has been in custody for more than eight months. The husband was taken into custody after the verdict was announced.
According to the prosecution, by “taking part in an unauthorized mass event near the building of the Pinsk District Executive Committee on August 9, 2020,” the fourteen defendants “grossly violated public order.”
“As a consequence, they destroyed property and delivered blows at police officers with their hands, feet and various objects – boards, sticks, street boxes, fragments of paving slabs and concrete parapet slabs, bottles, rocks, metal objects and iron rods. Then they deliberately destroyed vehicles and other property owned by the law enforcement authorities, individuals and legal entities,” the indictment read.
Thus, according to the indictment, Liazhenka removed a stick from a bench and struck at least ten blows at police officers. Then he took another stick and struck at least three more blows. Bahnavets took a tree stake and threw it at the security forces. Khalimonchyk threw a plastic bottle and a stick at the policemen and struck them with at least twice with a stick. Hunko hit a police shield once with his hand, then pulled flowers with roots and soil from a flowerbed, “thus producing an instrument of crime,” and threw them at the security forces. He also threw a metal box there. Sheliamet threw a rock, a plastic bottle, a burning pack of cigarettes and a board. Rahashchuk threw an unidentified object and hit the police officers with a stick at least five times. Rubets threw a handful of earth from a flowerbed and a rock. Tsiareska threw a stick and several unidentified objects. Bohnat threw a rock, a fragment of a broken glass bottle and an unidentified object. Mikhailau kicked the police shields, lifted a concrete parking hemisphere and threw it at the police. Mastsitski struck four times with a stick. Salavei urged to dismantle the pavement and threw an unidentified object. Alena Maushuk approached the line of security officers and hit the shields with her hands, a wooden stake and a stick. Siarhei Maushuk threw a stick.