Ukrainian citizen jailed over post-election protests
Mikhail Ferenets, a Ukrainian national on the list of Belarusian political prisoners, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for his role in the post-election protests of late 2020.
Ferenets was found guilty of “participation in actions that grossly violate public order” (Part 1 of Art. 342) and “vandalizing buildings and damage to property” (Part 4 of Art. 16, Part 4 of Art. 341 of the Criminal Code).
The 33-year-old Ukrainian was accused of taking part in three protests and leading a group that painted slogans and graffiti in several locations in Minsk. He also allegedly committed a criminal offense by administering a Telegram channel called “Brave People”.
A native of Donetsk, who has been living in Belarus for nine years, was detained on September 16 last year. He was then held for seven months as a foreigner pending deportation. In his last speech in court, the political prisoner told about the inhumane conditions during these months: “The cold in winter was so hard that you could only fall asleep wearing a jacket and woolen socks.” However, instead of being sent home, he was charged and transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 1. The seven months he spent at the Akrestsin Street detention center, however, will not be deducted from the sentence.
The political prisoner pleaded not guilty in court, refused to testify, but delivered a powerful last statement, in which he told, among other things, about the psychological and physical violence he suffered at the hands of security forces.