Russian national sent to prison for calling Lukashenka hijacker
Iryna Vikkholm, a Russian citizen and political prisoner, has been sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment a general-security penal colony, after the Maskoŭski Court in Brest found her guilty of “slander against the president” (Article 367 of the Criminal Code of Belarus).
Vikkholm was arrested on May 28 in Brest for a Tweet she posted on May 23. The Tweet redirected to a repost of a publication by the BBC’s Russian service about the incident with the Ryanair plane intercepted by Belarus to arrest opposition blogger Raman Pratasevich.
She signed the repost as follows: “Another crime of Lukashenka: an act of state piracy”, while the phrase “act of state air piracy” was a quote from the BBC text.
After arrest, the woman was sent to Minsk to be examined at the Center for Mental Health, but later returned to pre-trial detention center No. 7 in Brest.
During her pre-trial detention, Vikkholm was described by the prison authorities as “prone to extremist activities,” which was later voiced in court.
In court, Vikkholm requested disqualification of the judge and the public prosecutor. She also refused to be defended by a court-appointed lawyer. The woman stressed that the criminal case against her had an apparent political motive.
Iryna Vikkholm has lived in Brest for almost 10 years, blogging on several local sites.