14 August 2020, Friday, 17:42
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Dzmitry Paliyenka’s Case Goes To Minsk City Court

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Dzmitry Paliyenka’s Case Goes To Minsk City Court

Presumably, the trial will begin in September.

Human rights activists of Viasna learned that the Minsk city prosecutor’s office sent a criminal case against activist Dzmitry Paliyenka to the Minsk city court. Presumably, the consideration of the Paliyenka case will begin in September.

This means that the decision on the criminal case submitted to the court, in accordance with Article 276 of the Criminal and Procedural Code, must be made within a month. Presumably, the consideration of the Paliyenka case will begin in September.

At the moment, Paliyenka has been charged under several articles of the Criminal Code: Article 341 (damage to property in a public place), Part 1 of Article 130 (incitement of other social hostility or hatred on the basis of social belonging), Article 369 (public insult to a representative of the authorities in connection with the performance of their official duties) and Part 3 of Article 339 (particularly malicious hooliganism). At the moment, Dzmitry Paliyenka is held in the remand prison #1 in the Valadarski Street in Minsk, where he is likely to remain until trial.

According to human rights activists, the grounds for holding Dzmitry Paliyenka accountable in this case look very doubtful.

“The defamatory Article 369 of the Criminal Code has long provoked negative assessments of the human rights community. The definition of police officers as a social group within the framework of the charge under Article 130 of the Criminal Code is also erroneous from the point of view of international experts and human rights activists. A more detailed analysis of the charge can only be made during the trial in court . Now there is too little information,” says Aleh Pashkevich, a lawyer at Viasna.

The trial of the case of Dzmitry Paliyenka, in fact, will be held during the election campaign.

“The Belarusian authorities once again declare that the election campaign will be democratic and comply with the international standards on free elections. However, free and democratic elections are not only the process of putting ballots into the ballot box, or counting votes. This, in particular, is the atmosphere in which the elections are held . Freedom of expression should be guaranteed, without the people fearing to be punished for their views,” adds Viasna’s lawyer.

Human rights activists have concerns that the trial in the Paliyenka case may be held behind closed doors. But, as Aleh Pashkevich notes, if the authorities nevertheless make the trial in this case open, then this, among other things, can be a good signal for both the Belarusian society and the international community, meaning some real democratic processes.

Dzmitry Paliyenka was detained on March 20 on the suspicion of committing particularly malicious hooliganism (Article 339 of the Criminal Code). He is accused of spraying a gas pellet in the face of the man who reprimanded him for smoking on the staircase. On April 5, Paliyenka was charged under several articles of the Criminal Code: Part 3 of Article 339, Article 341 and Part 1 of Article 130. The charge under Article 341 of the Criminal Code was presented against Paliyenka for applying graffiti to a building in the Akhotskaya Street.

On July 2, the Investigatory Committee announced that the investigation of the criminal case of Dzmitry Paliyenka was completed, and it was transferred to the prosecutor's office for the referral to the court. However, the Minsk prosecutor’s office returned the case of Dzmitry Paliyenka to the Zavodzki district department of the Investigatory Committee for an additional preliminary investigation in accordance with Article 264 of the Criminal and Procedural Code.

The result of this was two new criminal articles: 341 for the graffiti in Kurapaty, and 369 for insulting (former) Minister of the Interior Ihar Shunevich.