Ex-police officer sentenced to 2 years in prison for participating in post-election protests
The Centraĺny District Court of Minsk sentenced political prisoner Yahor Viarshynin to two years in a general-security penal colony, finding him guilty under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (“actions that grossly violate public order”).
Following a hasty trial that lasted only one day, the 31-year-old former police investigator was convicted of joining two post-election protests on August 23 and 30 in Minsk. The main evidence of his guilt were two photos from the demonstrations, which Viarshynin shared in private posts on his Facebook account.
The political prisoner pleaded not guilty.
According to the indictment, Yahor Viarshynin shouted slogans, clapped his hands, used a white-red-white flag as a protest symbol, walked on the road, which hindered the work of public transport, and thus “grossly violated public order.”
Viarshynin argued in court that he did not shout slogans, did not walk on the road and did not “wave his arms.”
“And I do not understand at all what is meant by destructive goals, destructive calls, because there is no such definition in the legislation,” the former investigator said.
He added said that the roads had already been blocked by police forces before protesters occupied the streets.
“How can you block something that has already been blocked?” he asked the judge.