Political prisoner Aleh Kulesha sentenced to prison term in another dancing protest trial in Brest

2021 2021-10-06T17:46:18+0300 2021-10-06T17:46:19+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/brest_13_09.jpeg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
A snapshot of security cameras footage showing a water cannon dispersing peaceful demonstrators during a "dancing protest" in Brest on September 13, 2020

A snapshot of security cameras footage showing a water cannon dispersing peaceful demonstrators during a "dancing protest" in Brest on September 13, 2020

The Maskoŭski District Court of Brest has convicted the eighth group of defendants in the series of trials dubbed by journalists and human rights defenders as “dancing protest case”. The six people were found guilty under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (participation in actions that grossly violate public order).

Among them is Aleh Kulesha, a political prisoner from Pružany, who was sentenced to 1 year and 7 months in a penal colony.

Three more were sentenced to terms of restricted freedom in open penitentiaries. Two defendants will serve their imprisonment at home.

The criminal case was opened after a water cannon dispersed several hundred peaceful protesters in central Brest on September 13 of last year. The people blocked an intersection of two streets to dance and sing protest songs. Dozens faced criminal charges as a result.

According to the prosecution, the dancing protest “grossly violated public order.” The demonstrators also reportedly disobeyed orders from police officers, causing disruption of transport, businesses and organizations. In particular, the trolleybus and bus depots allegedly lost a total of 660 rubles (230 euros). Several street shops and a fast food restaurant were force to close for several hours.

This is one of the biggest political cases in the modern history of Belarus. Investigators have identified 115 people involved in the protest, charging 108 of them. 87 people have already been sentenced to various types of punishment, including custodial sentences.

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