3 years in prison for messaging: Political prisoner Maryia Nestserava convicted in Minsk
Political prisoner Maryia Nestserava was sentenced today to three years in a general-security penal colony, after Judge Alena Kaptsevich of the Zavodski District Court of Minsk found her of “active participation in group actions that grossly violated public order and were combined with obvious disobedience to the lawful demands of the authorities.”
The “offense” allegedly led to disruption of transport, businesses and organizations (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus). The charges stem from Nestserava’s messages in a number of Telegram channels and chats, which resulted a 47-page indictment.
“We suggest pushing our agenda peacefully, but urgently demand a three-point ultimatum: Lukashenka’s resignation, release of political prisoners and investigation of crimes by security officers,” the defendant wrote in a chat called “Puppet Masters” that consisted of 9 people.
By doing this, Nestserava “influenced the minds and will of citizens, encouraging them to destructive actions,” the prosecution argued.
The political prisoner has been detained since October 24, 2020. She was reportedly beaten during arrest.
Maryia Nestserava pleaded guilty and refused to testify in court, but later explained that she had been moved by the many violations in the work of the election commission, which she witnessed as an independent observer.