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Six political prisoners in the “hay bale case” sentenced to prison. Security forces painted swastika on the detainees

2022 2022-01-31T18:27:04+0300 2022-01-31T18:27:52+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On January 31, the Staŭbcy District Court pronounced verdicts in the "painted hay bale case." In this case, seven political prisoners were detained on September 1, 2022.

Judge Viktoryia Sudnik found all of them guilty under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code (Hooliganism by a group of individuals). She sentenced Andrei Aryka, Maksim Dubeshka, Aliaksandr Babko, Volha Dubovik, Alena Dziadziulia, Ihar Myslivets for 12 months in a general-security penal colony. Katsiaryna Aryka was sentenced to 18 months of home confinement and released in the courtroom. 

Painted hay bales on September 1. Screenshot of Ministry of Internal Affairs’ video
Painted hay bales on September 1. Screenshot of Ministry of Internal Affairs’ video

During the trial, some details of the arrest were revealed: security officers came with machine guns, officers painted swastika on the detainees, some of the detainees were beaten. Also, as it became known to human rights defenders, men were kept without clothes for more than a week in the Dziaržynsk detention center. One of the detainees reported that “they were taken for interrogation in underwear.” Also, they were kept in cells with metal bunk beds without mattresses and were given only sheets for bedding until being officially charged. In addition, detention center officers woke them up at night every hour. At the same time, women were banned from receiving parcels and their clothes were confiscated due to the fact that there were no female employees to inspect them.

According to the indictment, Katsiaryna and Andrei Aryka, Maksim Dubeshka, Aliaksandr Babko, Volha Dubovik, Alena Dziadziulia, and Ihar Myslivets acted intentionally, planned and coordinated, unjustifiably out of hooliganism in order to grossly violate public order and express obvious social contempt, which is characterized by exceptional cynicism expressed in the intention to disorganize traffic by diverting the attention of drivers to the inscriptions on the packaging of bales of haylage. Using red and black paints they drew pictures of different content on the packaging of haybales, which caused property damage in the total amount of 1512 rubles (Part 2 of Article 339 of the Criminal Code).

Katsiaryna Aryka, Volha Dubovik, Ihar Myslivets, Alena Dziadziulia, and Aliaksandr Babko pleaded guilty in part. Katsiaryna Aryka and Volha Dubovik explained that they had no intention of damaging property and disrupting car traffic. According to Ihar Myslivets, his actions were not motivated by hooliganism, he did not violate public order, did not want to express contempt for society, and had no intention to disrupt the traffic. Alena Dziadziulia said that she only had been drawing stripes. She did not agree that a field is a public place. Like the others, she disagreed that disoriented drivers. She did not see cynicism in her actions. Alena does not agree that she spoiled the haylage, because “it was spoiled by the law enforcement officers who opened the bales.” Aliaksandr Babko did not admit that he obstructed traffic and that he intended to show contempt to society but agreed that “he painted bales” and regrets it.

Maksim Dubeshka pleaded guilty in full, and Andrei Aryka pleaded not guilty.


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