Four political prisoners accused of hacking the government computer system sentenced to 3,5 to 6,5 years
On January 28, the Zavodski District Court of Minsk sentenced four political prisoners for “hacking the computer system of the Minsk City Executive Committee.” Political prisoners Kim and Aliaksei Samusenka were sentenced to 6.5 and 4 years in a general-security penal colony, respectively, Pavel Drozd and Ivan Andrushoits to 3.5 years in a penal colony each.
The actions of the political prisoners were qualified under six articles of the Criminal Code of Belarus:
- Part 1 of Art. 342 (Active participation in actions that grossly violate public order);
- Art. 341 (Damage to public property);
- Part 2 of Art. 293 (Preparation for participation in riots);
- Art. 350 (Modification of computer information);
- Art. 352 (Illegal acquisition of computer information);
- art. 354 (Use of malicious computer programs).
The trial lasted for two months, in total the political prisoners have been kept in jail for almost 18 months. Judge Zhanna Khvoinitskaya decided to consider the case behind closed doors due to the fact that “the materials of the criminal case contain information that is a state secret.”
According to the indictment, “a 35-year-old man [...] carried out unauthorized access to the information stored in the computer network of Minsk city executive committee. As a result of these actions, the defendant took possession of CCTV footage for the purpose of subsequent publication on various Internet resources, including destructive and extremist Telegram channels.
[This] resulted in the disruption of the normal operation of enterprises and government agencies. Also, these individuals copied and deleted files in various formats and entered deliberately false information in them.
During the investigation of the criminal case, it was reliably established that all men systematically participated in unauthorized mass events that took place in Minsk from August to November 2020, involving roadblocks and disobedience to the legitimate demands of the authorities. The investigation recorded 10 facts of their participation."
Kim Samusenka, a 32-year-old civil society activist, was arrested on November 3, 2020, on suspicion of hacking into the computer system of the Minsk City Executive Committee (Part 2 of Article 349 of the Criminal Code) and acting in violating public order, in Minsk since August 9 (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code). After a search, which was accompanied by shooting and the use of physical force, security forces confiscated all technical equipment of Kim and his wife, registered hunting weapons, money, white-red-white flag, Ukrainian flag, the Ukrainian passport of his wife and, other things. Two days later, Kim's brother, 33-year-old Aliaksei Samusenka, was also arrested. He is an economist and worked for a private company.
35-year-old Pavel Drozd and Ivan Andrushoits were also convicted in this case. More than four months after his arrest, Ivan got married to his girlfriend Sofya in the pre-trial detention center.