On 6 September Minsk City Court pronounced the verdict in the criminal case of the so-called “international criminal group”. There are 14 anarchists and libertarians, four of whom have left Belarus. The defendants were charged under 10 articles, including the articles on the establishment and participation in a criminal organization (paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 of Article 285 of the Criminal Code) and the establishment of an extremist formation (paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code). The trial was held behind closed doors.
According to the investigation, from 2005 to 2020 unidentified persons together with anarchist Alexander Frantskevich and human rights activist Martha Rabkova united “a number of organized criminal groups”: “Revolutionary Action”, “National self-defense” and Revolucijna Dia (“Revolutionary Day”). Investigators allege that Frantskevich and Rabkova organized the arson of the Gomel District Tax Inspectorate in March 2017 using “Molotov cocktails.” Read more about the case and its defendants in Russian here.
The 10 convicts were sentenced to exactly the terms requested for them by the prosecution:
– Aleksandr Frantskevich – 17 years (strict regime)
– Akihiro Hanada-Gayevsky – 16 years (medium security)
– Marfa Rabkova: 15 years (minimum security)
– Alexei Golovko – 12 years (maximum security)
– Pavel Shpetny, Nikita Drants, Alexander Kozlyanko, Andrei Chepuk – 6 years for each (maximum security)
– Andrei Marach and Daniil Chul – 5 years each (reinforced regime)
It is also reported that the defendants were fined up to 700 basic units (about $8,900).
After the verdict was pronounced, the law enforcers detained relatives of the defendants and other political prisoners, diplomats who were not allowed into the courtroom, as well as random people who came to other trials.
Address for letters: SIZO-1, 2 Volodarskogo Street, Minsk, 220030 Belarus.
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