The Minsk City Court upheld Tuesday the prison sentences imposed on former presidential candidates Mikalay Statkevich and Dzmitry Uss (Vus) and five other people in connection with a post-election demonstration that was staged in central Minsk on December 19, 2010.
A panel chaired by Syarhey Khrypach heard the appeals by Messrs. Statkevich and Uss, as well as Alyaksandr Klaskowski, Artsyom Hrybkow, Alyaksandr Kvyatkevich, Dzmitry Bulanaw and Andrey Paznyak, who were alleged by the public prosecutor in their trial to be the most active participants of the December 19 "mass disorder."
Prosecutor Anton Zaharowski denounced the appeals as unfounded and not substantiated by evidence.
Protesters did make an attempt to break through police to storm the House of Government in Independence Square on December 19, he said. In addition, he said, sticks, metal rods, bottles and other objects were found in the square following the dispersal of the protest, testifying to a conspiracy between protesters to "commit illegal actions."
None of the convicts was present at the court hearing that opened in the morning. The panel rejected Mr. Uss’ request to attend the hearing, taking sides with the prosecutor who said that he did not consider Mr. Uss’ presence necessary following "detailed" statements made by him during his trial.
On May 26, Judge Lyudmila Hrachova of the Leninski District Court sentenced Mr. Statkevich to six years in a medium-security correctional institution and Mr. Uss to five years and six months in a medium-security correctional institution.
She found the two men guilty of organizing "mass disorder" in connection with their participation in the post-election protest.
Mr. Klaskowski was sentenced to five years in a medium-security correctional institution; Mr. Hrybkow to four years in a medium-security correctional institution and compulsory treatment for alcohol addiction; Mr. Kvyatkevich to three years and six months in a medium-security correctional institution; Mr. Bulanaw to three years in a medium-security correctional institution; and Mr. Paznyak to a two-year "restricted freedom" term without his being sent to a correctional institution. The European Union has entered Ms. Hrachova and the public prosecutor in the case, Kiryl Chubavets, in its list of Belarusian citizens subject to travel bans and asset freezes for their role in the government’s crackdown on political opponent.