Today, October 6, socio-political activist Yury Rubtsou has been sentenced to 2.5 years of personal restraint. However, the sentence has been reduced to 1.5 years due to the amnesty. Therefore, the defendant will have to serve 1.5 years of personal restraint.
The activist was charged with a crime under Article 391 of the Criminal Code, “Insulting a judge or a lay judge”. The trial was led by Judge of the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk Natallia Vaitsekhovich.
The state prosecutor Hardzeyenka demanded to punish Yury Rubtsou with restriction of liberty for a term of three years.
12.40 a.m.: Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich who observed the trial stated that if Yury Rubtsou was sentenced to personal restraint with direction
to an open penitentiary institution he would become a new political prisoner.
The counsel asked to justify Mr. Rubtsoudue to the absence of direct evidence of insult ofJudge Kiryl Palulekh: the April trial of the activist hadn’t been recorded on audio or video. Therefore, the accusations against the defendant was based only on the testimonies of the police who had arbitrarily detained him during the Chernobyl Way rally. That’s why it is impossible to ascertain whether Mr. Rubtsou has insulted the whole judicial system or the judge in particular. Such testimonies cause deserved doubts.
As stressed by Mr. Stefanovich, the trial is a direct result of actions by the authorities who practice arbitrary detention of activists that have not committed crimes. Police actions were obviously illegal, as Yury Rubtsou was arrested for wearing a T-shirt “Lukashenka, Step Down!” Thus, he expressed his personal opinion as guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus.
Positive characterizations from Yury’s place of residence and work were presented to the court, but seem to have had no effect on the verdict.
September 16, on the first day of the trial, Judge Natallia Vaitsekhovich questioned Yury Rubtsou. He explained that on April 28 he had been taken to the Savetski District Court half-naked and without glasses, which was degrading his human dignity. Moreover, as he had no glasses he was unable to study the materials of his case. Therefore he called this trial a mockery.
Then there was a questioning of the victim, judge of the Savetski District Court of Minsk, Kiryl Polulekh, and the witnesses – riot policemen Sharko and Bely and the court secretary Dar’ya Stasiuk. They confirmed that Mr. Rubtsou had insulted the judge. They stated that the activist had used foul expressions, said that it was not a trial, but a mockery and called Kiryl Palulekh avillain.
The trial started on September 16 and was postponed due to the fact as some witnesses failed to appear at the hearing.