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Eduard Babaryka receives 8 years in jail

2023 2023-07-05T19:50:25+0300 2023-07-05T19:50:35+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Eduard Babaryka at the verdict reading on July 5, 2023

Eduard Babaryka at the verdict reading on July 5, 2023

On July 5, 2023, the Minsk District Court delivered a verdict against political prisoner Eduard Babaryka, who has been held in custody for over three years. He was sentenced to eight years of a medium-security penal colony. Babaryka was charged with incitement of hatred (under part 3 of Article 130), organizing mass riots (part 1 of Article 293), and tax evasion (part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code). The state prosecution dropped the charge of money laundering under part 2 of Article 235 of the Criminal Code. Judge Uladzimir Areshka assigned him two years less than Prosecutor Aliaksandr Karol requested. The case was examined in an open court session on the premises of the Minsk District Court from May 22.

Babaryka was arrested on June 18, 2020, alongside his father, Viktar Babaryka, while heading to the Central Election Commission to submit collected signatures. The charges claimed he “was obliged to declare income and had a real opportunity to fulfill his obligations but did not submit a tax declaration to the inspection.” Interestingly, Eduard Babaryka faced difficulties with his correspondence while in detention, raising questions about how he could have submitted a tax declaration during his two-year confinement. According to the prosecution, Babaryka, arrested on June 18, 2020, had assisted Siarhei Tsikhanouskі, detained on May 29, 2020, in organizing mass riots.

In addition, Babaryka was accused of assisting in deliberate actions intended to incite hatred on the basis of social affiliation, carried out by a group of individuals by prior agreement. These actions reportedly led to severe consequences, including mass riots and considerable damage.

Babaryka pleaded not guilty during the trial. He stated he did not understand the essence of the charges against him and noted that he had no personal acquaintance with Tsikhanouski.

He testified in court, “I have not committed a single crime I am accused of. The investigation did not find a single piece of evidence of my guilt.”

Babaryka also explained that the 1.8 million rubles (approx. $713,000) mentioned in the case, considered illegally obtained, were gifts from his parents.

Witnesses expected to be interrogated during the trial included political prisoners Viktar Babaryka and Siarhei Tsikhanouski. Still, they failed to appear, even via video link.

Incarceration conditions for Babaryka were harsh. In 2020, he was kept in solitary confinement for two weeks. On his return to his cellmates, he was very talkative due to the isolation. His cell was so hot and humid that his clothing became moldy, and his correspondence was significantly restricted.

Before his arrest, Babaryka led the crowdfunding platforms Ulej and MolaMola. 

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