Woman with claustrophobia from Homieĺ sent to prison for 2 years

2021 2021-12-02T18:30:40+0300 2021-12-02T19:27:29+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/kuzmenka_908.jpeg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Today, the Centraĺny District Court of Homieĺ announced the verdict in a criminal case against the 49-year-old Larysa Kuzmenka suffering from claustrophobia, who has been held in a pre-trial detention center for almost four months. The woman was accused of assaulting a riot police (OMON) officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code) during the demonstration in Homieĺ on September 27, 2020, when security forces used tear gas and stun grenades against protesters. According to the prosecution, Larysa Kuzmenka “grabbed a riot policeman by the hand, thus hindering his work”. The woman did not admit guilt and refused to testify, both at the trial and during the investigation process. Today, prosecutor Sidarenka requested a sentence of a two-year imprisonment for Ms Kuzmenka. Several hours later, judge Siarhei Salouski gave Larysa Kuzmenka the punishment requested by the state prosecution.

Protest in Homieĺ on September 27, 2020

What happened in Homieĺ on September 27, 2020?

On September 27, 2020 a traditional Sunday demonstration was held in several Belarusian cities, including Homieĺ. Belarusians took to the streets to protest against the secret inauguration of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. In Homieĺ, a clash among riot policemen and protesters took place, during which the police used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters. Larysa Kuzmenka was detained that day and sentenced to a seven-day imprisonment.

After the announcement of the sentence, Larysa had a nervous breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric facility, where she stayed for the next two months. According to Larysa Kuzmenka’s daughter, the woman is registered with a psychiatrist and has an official psychiatric diagnosis— depressive disorder with a claustrophobic syndrome.

Criminal charges in 2021

Larysa Kuzmenka was detained for the second time in August 2021, but this time she was charged with a criminal article, namely with assault or threat of violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code).

On December 2, 2021 the court hearing of Larysa Kuzmenka’s case took place. Prosecutor Sidarenka requested a sentence of a two-year imprisonment for Ms Kuzmenka. Several hours later, judge Siarhei Salouski gave Larysa Kuzmenka the punishment requested by the state prosecution.

In her last plea, Larysa said that the accusation did not apply to her and that the investigator said that the court would figure it out, but in the end it did not work out. Several hours later, judge Siarhei Salouski sentenced Larysa Kuzmenka to two-year imprisonment, having given her the punishment requested by the state prosecution.

Larysa Kuzmenka in court, December 2021.

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