Two more people convicted over “dance protest” in Brest
Judge of the Maskoŭski district court of Brest Maryna Skalkovich convicted two more participants of the“dance protest case” on March 16. A political prisoner ex-investigator Aliaksandr Antaniuk was sentenced to 18 months in jail under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (participation in actions that grossly violate public order), while Ruslan Hachynski got two years of home confinement under the same article.
On September 13, 2020, during a protest rally in Brest, people gathered at the intersection in the city center and were dancing in circles. The protesters were dispersed with a water cannon. A criminal case was brought under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code for “actively participating in group actions that grossly violate public order”.
Human rights defenders from Viasna branch in Brest have learned that Aliaksandr Antaniuk worked as an investigator until July 2020. It is unknown why he was dismissed. Akiaksandr was detained on November 2, 2021, and placed in pre-trial detention center. He has stayed there the whole time until the trial.
Initially, Ruslan Hachynski and his wife Volha Hachynskaya were included in the tenth group of “protest dancers” that was tried in November 2021. But the man fell ill, so his case has proceeded separately. Volha Hachynskaya was sentenced to two years of home confinement.
Ruslan Hachynski pleaded guilty in court. Ex-investigator Antaniuk pleaded not guilty.
According to the prosecution, Antaniuk is presented on the footage from the protest as a man wearing sunglasses and a mask. The prosecutor presented to the court the conclusion of the forensic-portrait examination of the pictures taken at the protest on September 13, 2020. However, the experts concluded that there is no more than a 16.5% probability that it really was Aliaksandr Antaniuk.
116 people have already been convicted in this case. Together they were sentenced to 97 years of home confinement, 84.5 years in an open-type penitentiary, 13 years and 8 months in prison. The prosecutor's office reports that a criminal case against six other participants of the “dance protest case” has been sent to court.