Ex-employees of the national telecommunications company sentenced to 11 years. They were beaten during arrest

2022 2022-02-09T17:11:28+0300 2022-02-09T17:13:17+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/polit.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Aliaksei Bychkouski and Artsiom Parkhamovich

Aliaksei Bychkouski and Artsiom Parkhamovich

On February 9, two political prisoners and former employees of the national telecommunications company Beltelecom, Aliaksei Bychkouski, and Artsiom Parkhamovich, have been sentenced in Minsk City Court. Judge Sviatlana Bandarenka sentenced each to 11 years in a medium-security penal colony under eight articles of the Criminal Code. After arrest, the men looked beaten. Political prisoners’ relatives also say about the beating.

The trial has been held in private since November 25. It was closed at the request of prosecutor Natallia Sakalova “for the safety of the victim's family and personal data, as well as for the non-distributing of extremist materials”.

Aliaksei and Artsiom were detained in the fall of 2021. In the so-called “repentant video” published after their arrest, the men looked beaten. Aliaksei Bychkouski's wife Tatsiana told journalists that her husband was indeed severely beaten after arrest:

“My husband was beaten and beaten half to death during arrest. . . . I don't even want to say what they did to him–it was just humiliating. But, I was told, he was tased, he lost consciousness… And the husband himself wrote in one of his letters about the road to the Investigative Committee: ‘I thought I just wouldn't make it.’

Aliaksei Bychkouski and Artsiom Parkhamovich. Screenshots: Ministry of Internal Affairs video
Aliaksei Bychkouski and Artsiom Parkhamovich. Screenshots: Ministry of Internal Affairs video

According to the indictment, in 2020 Beltelecom employees “passed to the administrators of extremist Telegram channels personal data of more than 150 heads and employees of various law enforcement agencies, judges, journalists, education and medical workers, public figures”. “The information was posted in the public domain, and employees and their families were subjected to bullying, and some had their property damaged.”

As a result, Aliaksei Bychkouski and Artsiom Parkhamovich were convicted under the following articles of the Criminal Code:

  • 364 (Violence or threat of violence against an employee of the internal affairs bodies);
  • Part 1 of Art. 366 (Violence or threat against an official performing official duties or another person performing a public duty);
  • 365 ( Interference in the activities of a police officer);
  • 198 (Obstruction of a journalist’s lawful professional activity);
  • 352 (Illegal acquisition of computer information)–expired on May 26, 2021);
  • 389 (Threat to a judge or lay judge);
  • Part 2 of Art. 203-1 (Illegal actions with respect to information about private life and personal data);
  • Part 3 of Art. 130 (Incitement to racial, national, religious or other hatred); 

“In court, Aliaksei pleaded guilty in part to using the information. But he didn't admit anything about threats to security forces or extremism,” says Bychkouski's wife. “Artsiom did not plead guilty. . . . However, they got exactly the same sentence, 11 years in prison, plus they must pay large compensation to the victims.”

 

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