A district judge in Minsk on March 10 sentenced a post-election protester, Dzmitry Myadzvedz, to a three-year “restricted freedom” term without his being sent to a correctional institution.
Judge Alena Rudnitskaya of the Maskowski District Court found the 51-year-old Myadzvedz guilty of participation in "mass disorder" under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 293 in connection with a post-election demonstration that was staged in Minsk’s central Independence Square on the night of December 19, 2010 in protest against election frauds.
The public prosecutor in the trial, Kiryl Mazowka, suggested that the accused be sentenced to four years in a high-security correctional institution. The prosecutor pointed out that he considered the guilt the accused completely proven, whereas the defense lawyer, Syarhey Lepesh, argued that his client should be cleared of the charge leveled against him. No evidence was produced to prove that Mr. Myadzvedz had offered any resistance to the police and the prosecution’s video footage only showed that the accused had just raised his arms to cover himself from baton blows, the lawyer said.
Mr. Myadzvedz, a small business owner who is not a member of any political group, was rearrested after serving a 10-day jail term for attending the December 19 demonstration.
The restricted freedom sentence will require him to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and not to leave his home city without permission. Failure to comply with these or other requirements on three occasions may lead to the institution of criminal proceedings under the Criminal Code's Article 415, which provides for prisons sentences of between 18 months and three years.