26 February 2020, Wednesday, 4:00
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Anarchists Sentenced To Seven Years Of Colony For $70 Damage

Anarchists Sentenced To Seven Years Of Colony For $70 Damage

The activists have fully compensated the damage.

On February 12, the Savetski district court of the capital passed a sentence against two anarchists. The official prosecution claims that they first stained the building of the city court with red paint, and then damaged the door of one of the detention center buildings with Molotov cocktail, tut.by writes.

Each of them was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in a reinforced regime colony. This decision was made by Judge Aliaksandr Yakunchykhin.

At the request of lawyers, the sentence was read in full, it took two hours.

The anarchists were found guilty of all the episodes. Only with regard to the deed at the pre-trial detention center the court replaced the article about "damage of historical and cultural value" with another one, just "damage to property" (article 218 instead of 344 of the Criminal Code). Although the sanction is almost the same: up to 3-10 years of imprisonment.

The court considered that the defendants had no intention to damage the historical object. Although it is a part of the historical and cultural value of the 2nd category of the "Pishchalau Castle", but there is no warning sign outside, as required by law.

"The aims of justice can only be achieved with a sentence of imprisonment, and there is no reason to appoint a softer one," - the judge read out.

The day before, prosecutor Maksim Seneu asked to sentence each of the defendants to 7 years in a reinforced regime colony.

The trial was held under strict security measures. People, who came to the trial, had to stand in queues to the frames for inspection: one of them was at the entrance to the building, the second one was installed at the entrance to the courtroom. People in civilian clothes were walking along the corridors, and cameras like those of the transport controllers could be seen on their chests. Another camera was used to film everyone entering the courthouse.

What were the anarchists accused of?

According to the investigation, in September last year, 19-year-old anarchists Mikita Yameljanau and Ivan Komar threw light bulbs with paint at the Minsk city court building and stained the facade for 143 rubles. The maximum they were threatened with for property damage was an arrest. During the investigation, they compensated for the damage.

In addition, in October 2019, according to the investigation, Yameljanau and Komar bought components and mixed a Molotov cocktail, and on October 12 or 13 they came to Voladarski Street, but the bottle, thrown into the detention center № 1, did not inflame. And the defendants repeated their attempt on October 19 or 20. As a result the door of the administrative building was damaged: the damage amounted to 1 ruble and 48 kopecks. These actions were qualified under two articles: as illegal acts with combustible objects, and also an attempt and actual damage of historical and cultural value (the Pishchalau Castle, where the detention center is located, is considered to be the one). This is punishable by up to a real term of imprisonment of 3 to 12 years.

In the testimony heard at the trial, employees of the detention center said that the doors were no longer than 20 years old, and all the damage was removed by means of a paint can and a locksmith.

"I myself have been visiting this institution [as a lawyer] for 10 years, and I know about the status of Pishchalau Castle itself, but the fact that the administrative building with double-glazed windows and metal doors can be considered a one of great historical and cultural value - even I did not know, this fact surprised me a lot", - Dzmitry Liapretar, Yameljanau's defender, noted during the debate.

In his opinion, the article about the damage to the historical value appeared after the bodies of inquiry assessed the real damage to the pre-trial detention facility. And it turned out to be not 1475 rubles (which is indicated in the original documents on the case), but only 1 ruble and 48 kopecks.

The defense side stressed that their client was not aware of the special historical status of the building. The sign is situated inside.

Defendant Mikita Yameljanau was insisting that he had thrown paint and bottles at the court building and near the pre-trial detention center himself. He allegedly did not disclose his plans to his friend Ivan Komar, who is also under investigation - he only asked him to buy bulbs and paint, and then to film everything he sees on camera.

He explained his actions by his desire to support his friend Dzmitry Paliyenka, who was going to be tried behind closed doors in autumn 2019. "I believe that in the fight for freedom, justice and human rights - the goal justifies the means. But, nevertheless, I don't agree with the prosecutor's claim [to sentence me to a term]," - Yameljanau said in his last words.