Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

District court increases "restricted freedom" sentence against opposition youth Maksim Dashuk

15-06-2009, 18:13

The Maskowski District Court in Minsk on June 15 increased the 18-month "restricted freedom" term imposed on young opposition activist Maksim Dashuk in May 2008 by almost a year.

This means that restrictions on Maksim's freedom will remain in place for 15 more months, his associate Dzmitry Barodka told BelaPAN.

The 17-year-old Maksim was convicted under the Criminal Code's Article 415, which penalizes failure to meet requirements for restricted freedom sentences and provides for a prison term of up to three years.
In sentencing Maksim, the court referred to Article 70 of the Criminal Code, which allows mandatory minimum penalties to be mitigated.

"The court took into account that Maksim is a legal minor, and that he had violated requirements for his sentence because of family circumstances," Mr. Barodka said. "Moreover, I believe that the international community's reaction to the new charge against Dashuk and also demands by Belarusian non-governmental organizations to stop his persecution also played an important role."

Maksim was one of the 13 young people who were found guilty in the spring of 2008 of participating in an unsanctioned demonstration staged in January that year. More than 3,000 sole entrepreneurs and their sympathizers took part in the demonstration against the government's crackdown on small businesses.

Maksim's sentence required him to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and never leave his home city. Police officers repeatedly came to Maksim's apartment after 10 p.m. and found him missing on several occasions.

Maksim's father died in 2008, and the family's difficult financial situation forced the young man to work to help his mother, a small business owner with sole entrepreneur status.

Maksim Dashuk was arrested on February 23 and released on his own recognizance the following day.
Artsyom Dubski, another youth convicted over the January 2008 protest, is also to stand trial on the same charge as Mr. Dashuk.

In May, Amnesty International granted "prisoner of conscience" status to Messrs. Dashuk and Dubski and nine other youths who had been given restricted freedom sentences over the demonstration.