Three political prisoners jailed in Minsk over protest chat
The Zavodski District Court of Minsk announced its verdict in a criminal trial involving four administrators of the Telegram channel “Drivers 97”. They include three political prisoners Dzianis Hutsin, Viktoryia Kulsha and Hanna Vishniak.
The fourth defendant, Tatsiana Shkrobat, was on bail before the trial.
The activists were charged under Part 1 and Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (organization of group actions that grossly violate public order and preparation or training for such activities). According to the indictment, all of them, acting in a criminal conspiracy, deliberately called for mass riots and blocking roads as a response to the government’s policies and election fraud.
The hearings in the case were held behind closed doors.
As a result, Judge Zhanna Khvainitskaya sentenced Hutsin, Kulsha and Vishniak, who pleaded not guilty, to two years and six months in a general-security penal colony. Tatsiana Shkrobat, who cooperated with the investigation and pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three years of restricted freedom (home chemistry).
Political prisoners Dzianis Hutsin, Viktoryia Kulsha and Hanna Vishniak were detained in September and November 2020. Before the trial, they were held in pre-trial detention center No. 1. In March, their Telegram channel was blacklisted as “extremist”.