On the 27th of May, judge Zhanna Khvoynitskaya sentenced the Belarusian anarchists Ihar Alinevich, Mikalaj Dziadok, Aliaksandar Frantskievich, Maxim Vetkin and Yeveni Slivonchik. The young men were accused of a number of political actions, amongst which was the attack against the Russian embassy in Minsk in August of 2010.
Ihar Alinevich was accused of attacks against the Russian Embassy and Belarusbank ("Property destruction with intent", statute 218 paragraph 3 of the Belarusian Criminal Codex), an attack against the remand prison of Minsk (also statute 218, paragraph 2), an attack against a Casino and an illegal demonstration at the military headquarters ("Aggravated hooliganism", statute 339 paragraph 2 of Belarusian criminal codex). The prosecutor asked for a 9 year sentence in hard regime, eventually he received 8 years of hard regime (1).
Mikalaj Dziadok was sentenced for actions against a Casino, the military headquarters and a yellow(2), state-controlled trade union, all considered "aggravated hooliganism". The prosecutor demanded a 6 year sentence of hard regime, he received 4.5 years of hard regime.
Aliaksandr Frantskievich was sentenced for actions against state-controlled trade union, military headquarters and a police station at Soligorsk, all considered "aggravated hooliganism", and also against defacing website of city of Novopolotsk ("Electronic sabotage", "Illegal access to electronic information", "Development, using or spreading malware" (statute 349 paragraph 2, statute 351 paragraph 2, statute 354 of Belarusian criminal codex). Prosecutor demanded a 5 year sentence, eventually he received 3 years of hard regime.
Screenshots of the action are available here:
Maxim Vetkin was sentenced for the actions taken at the BelarusBank and the Russian Embassy in Minsk. He has been cooperating with the investigation and giving testimony against the others. He was given a 4 year sentence in a low-security prison according to the prosecutor's demands. He has been temporarily released.
Yevgeni Silivonchik was sentenced to 1.5 years in open regime prison for the attack in Soligorsk. He has also cooperating with the investigation and giving testimony against the other accused.
The accused have to compensate 100 million Belarusian rubles (around 20 000 dollars) in criminal damages to the respective institutions.
Alinevich, Dziadok and Frantskievich have been denying their involvement, with the exception of the action at the military headquarters. They are considering appealing their sentences, but the appeal court may hand out even more severe sentences. The Strasbourg court is not an option for the Belarusians, as Belarus is excluded from the Council of Europe.
Valentina Alinevich, mother of Ihar, said "Yesterday someone else's children were arrested, and we thought it was not our problem. Today they arrest our children. Tomorrow they will arrest someone else's children. People, be aware! Do not let it happen!". She also noted the role of Russian Federation in the case of Ihar: "Russia accepted the kidnapping of a person on its territory. It is an outrageous violation of human rights, which took place in compliance with the Russian authorities." Keep in mind, that on the 28th of November Ihar Alinevich was kidnapped from Moscow by agents of an unconfirmed special service, and illegally transferred across state borders to the remand prison of the Belarusian KGB in Minsk.
Aliaksandr Dziadok, the father of Mikalaj and an experienced lawyer, who has also worked as a judge, made the following statement to the press: "There were plenty of violations during the court process. The prosecution's case was not proven. The sentence is unjust and illegal. An objective, law-abiding court would have dropped all charges against the accused". Aliaksandr Dziadok made a comparison between the case against the anarchists, and the case brought against those arrested after the 19th of December (court cases against the latter, who protested against the falsification of the general elections, which have attracted sizeable international attention).
Anarchist Black Cross of Belarus considers the sentences politically motivated, and the charges unproven. Besides this, all of the actions for which the accused were sentenced, may be considered non-violent. No living being was hurt as a consequence of the actions. Most of the attacks were merely symbolical, and material damage was insignificant.
Reports from each day of the court are available on Belarussian Indymedia and at http://www.avtonom.org/en/freebelarus.
"Defying the law", a documentary on the investigation and the court cases against the Belarusian anarchists is available here: http://rutube.ru/tracks/4469719.html
A version with English subtitles will be available in few days.
1. hard regime means less allowances in terms of visits, mails, and packages and other "privileges"
2. yellow unions reject class struggle, oppose strikes and favor the collaboration between capital and labor
Anarchist Black Cross Belarus
Addition from ABC Moscow:
On the 18th of May, another “Anarchist case” ended in Belarus – Yawgen Vaskovich, Paval Syramalotaw and Artsyom Prakapyenka were each given 7 year sentences for a direct action against the KGB building in the city of Bobruysk. A problem with this case has been that although media perceived the three as anarchists, none of them had any connections to the existing anarchist movement and thus attempts to contact someone close to them and provide them with support prior to the court dates failed. Hopefully, support may be provided during their lengthy prison sentences.