Political prisoner Pilip Shaurou walks free after mild sentence
The court of the Centraĺny district of Minsk has sentenced Pilip Shaurou, activist of the Young Front opposition group earlier called a political prisoner by Belarusian human rights defenders, to a fine of 1,350 rubles, finding him guilty of criminal vandalism and property damage.
The prosecution maintained that in mid-January Shaurou had vandalized two sculptures in Minsk and spray-painted “1937” on the fence of a water supply facility outside the city.
During the trial that opened on May 18, the activist argued that the acts of vandalism were a manifestation of his civic stand and denied hooliganism motives. Among other things, Shaurou said that he had painted the hands of the Pushkin monument to protest Russia’s foreign policy.
On April 16, the country’s leading human rights organizations issued a statement to demand an immediate release of Pilip Shaurou, calling his prosecution a politically motivated case.
In early May, the Young Front activist was released from pre-trial detention to await the hearing.