Zmitser Dashkevich was sentenced to three days in jail for allegedly disobeying lawful police orders after being arrested in downtown Minsk earlier on Wednesday.
The sentence was handed down by Judge Valery Yesman of the Tsentralny District Court in Minsk.
As Barys Haretski, spokesperson for the Belarusian Association of Journalists who attended the trial, told BelaPAN, during the hearing, which lasted only five minutes, police officers claimed that Mr. Dashkevich had resisted arrest by trying to sit down on the ground.
According to Mr. Haretski, Mr. Dashkevich dismissed the officers’ allegations as lies and noted that he knew well Belarus’ judicial system and did not expect to be found not guilty.
According to Mr. Dashkevich’s wife, he was apprehended near the HUM department store at about 12:15 p.m. while he was collecting signatures for a petition for giving Minsk’s Lenin Street its original name of Frantsyskanskaya.
The 32-year-old Dashkevich was apparently jailed with a view to preventing him from staging any protests on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the so-called October Revolution (Bolsheviks’ coup d’etat in Russia in 1917), which is still observed in Belarus as a public holiday on November 7.
On August 28, Mr. Dashkevich was released from a prison in Hrodna after spending two years and eight months behind bars.
He was arrested in Minsk on December 18, 2010, on the eve of a scheduled large-scale post-election demonstration, for allegedly beating up two passers-by. Speaking during his trial, Mr. Dashkevich said that the incident was a provocation orchestrated by authorities and accused the two alleged victims of giving false testimony.
On March 24, 2011, he was sentenced to two years in a minimum-security correctional institution on a charge of «especially malicious hooliganism.»
Mr. Dashkevich was repeatedly placed in disciplinary confinement and transferred to other prisons for allegedly violating prison rules. As a result of two trials, he had his prison term extended, and ended up in the cell-type prison in Hrodna.