Brothers sentenced to “khimiya” terms over August 2020 protests

2021 2021-11-30T13:37:01+0300 2021-11-30T13:45:23+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/protest_90.jpeg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Aliaksei Rusetski during a protest on election night, August 9, 2020

Aliaksei Rusetski during a protest on election night, August 9, 2020

The Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk sentenced today two political prisoners, brothers Aliaksei Rusetski, 42, and Aliaksandr Rusetski, 40, to three and two and a half years of “khimiya” (restricted freedom in an open penitentiary) for participating in the August 2020 protests.

They brothers were charged under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (active participation in actions that grossly violate public order). Aliaksei was identified in a photo of him standing among other protesters on the night of August 9 last year. His brother Aliaksandr was summoned to the GUBAZIK office, where he was arrested. They pleaded guilty in full.

Since the beginning of last September, the brothers have been kept in custody in pre-trial prison No. 1 in Minsk. At the trial, they were interrogated in handcuffs and in a cage. Today, after the verdict was announced, both were released in the courtroom. They will be free until their appeals are heard by a superior court.

According to the prosecution, Aliaksei and Aliaksandr Rusetskis took part in “illegal actions” that “grossly violated public order,” “refused to obey orders from police officers” and “obstructed the movement of public transport.”

“I heard people chanting the slogan “Long Live Belarus”. I don’t remember any claps, and the crowd didn’t make any noise. There were people on the roadway, too. The transport did not run after the road was blocked by police officers,” Aliaksei said in court.

To a clarifying question from his lawyer, Aliaksei replied that his standing in a lock-on with other protesters was symbolic, since it could not interfere with the movement of transport and the police officers were far away from the place.

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