Fastest trial of ‘dancing protesters’: two defendants convicted in less than an hour

2022 2022-05-17T20:33:00+0300 2022-05-19T17:48:42+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/horovody.png The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
A snapshot from a street camera in central Brest showing protesters dancing at an intersection on September 13, 2020

A snapshot from a street camera in central Brest showing protesters dancing at an intersection on September 13, 2020

On May 17, the Brest court considered the case of the next defendants in the ‘round dance case’.  Andrei Ulasau and Yuliya Suvalka were sentenced to three years under home confinement under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them). The trial was presided by Judge Viktar Novik, seconded from Žabinka.

According to the indictment, Andrei Ulasau and Yuliya Suvalka deliberately ‘took an active part in group actions that grossly violate public order’ in a group with other people. 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 (200 US dollars). Several street shops and a fast-food restaurant were forced to close for several hours.

Although all of the defendants are tried on the same charges, the trial of Yuliya and Andrei was in some ways special, as it ended in less than an hour, setting a record for the fastest sentencing. During the hearings the prosecutor Alena Tsikhanovich asked the court to find Andrei Vlasau and Yulia Suvalko guilty of committing a crime under Part 1 of Article 342 and to sentence each of them to three years under home confinement. Judge Viktor Novik imposed exactly this punishment. Judge Viktar Novik did not take any time for deliberation and imposed exactly this punishment.


‘Protest dancers’ are participants of the March of Heroes, which took place in Brest on September 13, 2020. The rally reminded of a festival with protesters listening to music, dancing, and having fun. In total, more than a thousand people took part in the protest.  The police responded brutally, dispersing people with a water cannon.

Later, Deputy Interior Minister Henadz Kazakevich noted that this was the first case of “using a water cannon against participants of an unauthorized rally” in the history of modern Belarus.

A criminal case under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code was brought against more than a thousand detained participants of the rally. Due to a large number of defendants, they are tried in ‘batches’. According to human rights defenders, this is one of the biggest ‘political’ cases in the history of Belarus.

129 people have already been sentenced in the ‘dance protest’ case.

Other judges in the ‘dance protest’ case are:

Sviataslau Kalina, Dzmitryi Shuryn, Ina Klyshpach, Siarhei Maruchak, Yauhen Brehan, Dzmitryi Kurouski, Vera Filonik.

 

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