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Authors of graffiti in Belarusian language are facing up to 6 years in prison

17.08.2015  |  Society
Authors of graffiti in Belarusian language are facing up to 6 years in prison

Human rights fighters find the actions of the investigators illegal.

As the webpage of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” informs, on August 11, people in black uniforms with guns and helmets broke into three apartments in Minsk. Young residents were knocked down to the floor. In one of the apartments they were kept on the floor for about an hour, and electric shockers were used towards them without any reasons. 

The searches were held with violations: several investigators simultaneously overturned all in different rooms so that it was impossible to follow their actions. As a result, such 'dangerous' items as books, cans of paint and all money were seized from the youngsters.

Searches were also held in the apartments of the detainees' parents in Minsk and the town of Smarhon.

As a result, five people were detained over making Belarusian-language graffiti in Minsk back in May and August 2015, as well as painting a social billboard in June 2015.

The suspects, Viachaslau Kasinerau, Maksim Pekarski, V. (asked not to mention his name), Yaraslau Ulianenkau and a citizen of Russia Pavel, were charged under the several episodes: graffiti with the words "Belarus must be Belarusian", and a drawing of an ornament, crossed sickle with a hammer and swastika, which was characterized as "intentional acts, accompanied by damage to property, by unidentified individuals, who grossly violated the public order and expressed a clear disrespect for society", and resulted in instigation of a criminal case under Art. 339, Part 2 of the Criminal Code, "hooliganism committed by a group of persons"; graffiti on a former military base with the inscription "The revolution of consciousness is already in progress ...", featuring a silhouette of a man throwing a Molotov cocktail, which was also regarded as a violation under Art. 339, Part 2 of the Criminal Code, "hooliganism committed by a group of persons"; staining with paint a social banner with an image of police officers on Haretski Street in Minsk, which caused material damages to an individual entrepreneur in the amount of 2.2 million Belarusian rubles and was qualified as a violation of Art. 341 of the Criminal Code, "desecration of facilities and property damage".

Immediately after the searches and arrests the detainees were taken to the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, where “unofficial talks” were held with them with violations of procedural norms and rules. During these measures the detainees were deprived of the right to defense and no procedural documents were drawn. During these “talks” the detained individuals were subjected to psychological pressurization and even beaten.

Later, the girlfriend of one of the detainees was lured in the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption:

"I phoned my friend, but instead the telephone was taken by a man who told he was a police officer and said that my friend had allegedly hit a child while driving a bike. The man invited me to come to the address: Revaliucyjnaja Street, 3, saying that the child's parents filed a complaint and I could convince them to refuse from it. I went there and found that my friend and his friends were suspected in a crime, and there was no bike clash. Officers of the 4th department of the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, threatened and pressurized. They didn't draw up any reports or call a lawyer. They held me for two hours and after 9 p.m. drove me to the Investigation Committee, to interrogate as a witness. I was let go after the interrogation when it was almost midnight,” told Nasta Melnikava

The same evening, the two guys were released on recognizance not to leave – Yaraslau Ulianenkau and Pavel. Maksim Pekarski and V. are still held in a temporary detention facility, whereas Viachaslau Kasinerau was found in a hospital with a double fracture of the jaw, guarded by the police. The guys refuse to testify, therefore they are threatened to be kept in custody until the trial. 

Later, Ulianenkau was physically and psychologically pressurized at the Investigation Committee, threatened with trouble and a large prison term, and offered to testify against those who had allegedly painted the graffiti. An officer of the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption, who introduced himself as Ihar Lunevich, also tried to persuade him to collaborate.

“All youth movements that are contrary to the official ideology are suppressed on the eve of the election. That's how the people are pressurized,” emphasizes the guy.

At the moment, all the guys have the status of suspects. In the case they receive the status of accused, they can face up to 6 tears in jail.

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