Football fans imprisoned over post-election protest in Mazyr

2021 2021-11-23T15:00:34+0300 2021-11-23T15:00:35+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/mazyr-zatrymanni-2021.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
A football fan pinned to the ground by a police officer during arrest in Mazyr. May 4, 2021. Credit: police footage

A football fan pinned to the ground by a police officer during arrest in Mazyr. May 4, 2021. Credit: police footage

The Mazyr District Court sentenced five local football fans to terms in prison for their involvement in the post-election protests of August 2020.

Judge Halina Knizhonak sentenced Daniil Skipalski, Aliaksandr Suzko, Pavel Dvorak and Aliaksandr Tsimashenka to three years in a general-security penal colony, and Kiryl Kanapatski to three years and six months in prison.

They were accused of “organizing and preparing actions that grossly violated public order”, or “active participation in them” (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code) and of “violence or threat of violence against a police officer” (Article 364 of the Criminal Code).

Three of the defendants, Daniil Skipalski, Aliaksandr Suzko and Pavel Dvorak, were recognized as political prisoners by the Belarusian human rights community.

At the request of the prosecution, the trial was closed to the families, the public and the media.

The men, aged 18 to 27, were arrested on May 4, together with five more members of a football group described as “right-wing radical” by the authorities. The police argued that on August 11, 2020 the fans used pepper spray against policemen and threw stones at them.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, one police officer was injured and several police cars were damaged. The officers reportedly had to fire shots in the air to “stop the offenders”.

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