Eleven more defendants in “dancing protest” case convicted
On May 4, 2022, 11 more defendants in the “dancing protest” case were sentenced in the courts of Žabinka and Žabinka district. Judge Liudmila Rubasheuskaya granted the terms requested by the prosecutor Alena Sharko on 27 April. The defendants received the following sentences:
- three years under home confinement for Dzmitryi Shamshur and Yuryi Klimavets, as well as political prisoners Ihar Liashkevich and Dziyana Vashchylina;
- two years under home confinement for Katsiaryna Yarameyeva, Iryna Kuzmianchuk, Yuliya Levaniuk, Larysa Yakhimovich, Dzmitryi Neumiarzhytski;
- three years in an open penitentiary for Vital Brytsko and Liudmila Karabaniuk.
Two of the accused, Ihar Liashkevich and Dziyana Vashchylina, were kept in custody pending trial. They were released in the courtroom.
Liudmila Karabaniuk was also found guilty under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code. According to the indictment, she insulted Major General Vadzim Dzenisenka calling him a “drunkard” in her comment on one of the Telegram channels. The woman had already been detained for commenting over the internet; in the fall, a “repentant” video of her appeared on a pro-government Telegram channel.
The trial of another batch of “dancers” was supposed to begin a month ago, but then the trial was postponed because it was decided to add five more defendants.
The criminal case over “dancing protest” was opened after a water cannon dispersed several hundred peaceful protesters who blocked an intersection of two streets to dance and sing protest songs.
According to the prosecution, the dancing protest “grossly violated public order.” The demonstrators also reportedly disobeyed orders from police officers, causing disruption of transport, businesses, and organizations. In particular, the trolleybus and bus depots allegedly lost a total of 660 rubles (230 euros). Several street shops and a fast-food restaurant were forced to close for several hours.
This is one of the biggest political cases in the history of Belarus. 127 people have already been convicted.