Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Opposition activist gets three days in jail over T-shirt displayed during Dzyady march

Artsyom SHRAYBMAN, Naviny.by

A judge of the Savetski District Court in Minsk on Monday sentenced opposition activist Yury Rubtsow to three days in jail over a T-shirt that he had worn during an opposition march the previous day, BelaPAN said.

The 52-year-old member of the Independent Union of Electronic Industry Workers (REP) was arrested by police after a rally in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era massacre site, that concluded the sanctioned march staged on the occasion of Dzyady (Remembrance of Ancestors Day) in Minsk. The Homyel resident took part in the event wearing a T-shirt over his coat with a "Lukashenka Go" message on its front side. A text written on the back of the white T-shirt said, "A four-time president? No. This is not a president but an impostor tsar."

Judge Dzmitry Pawlyuchenka found Mr. Rubtsow guilty of disobedience to police officers under Article 23.4 of the Civil Offenses Code.

Speaking in his trial, Mr. Rubtsow noted flaws in the charge sheet. In particular, he said that it lacked his signature.

Police officers testified that they had produced their police IDs, but the man had resisted arrest.

Witnesses for the defense, however, said that the officers had worn civilian clothes, produced no IDs and provided no explanations during the arrest.

While pronouncing his judgment, Mr. Pawlyuchenka said that Mr. Rubtsow had been repeatedly told to take off the T-shirt before the arrest.

After the judge delivered the ruling, witness and opposition activist Maksim Vinyarski shouted, "Shame on the court!"

Mr. Rubtsow, who appeared in court wearing the T-shirt, told reporters that he had expected to be jailed.