On Monday, sixteen-year-old Mikita Zalatarou was sentenced to five years in prison by the district court in Homel. Zalatarou was accused of using force against law enforcement when he threw a Molotov cocktail at police during a demonstration against electoral fraud in the presidential election on August 9, 2020. The bottle did not hit the police and no one was injured. The boy, who has been in custody since August 11, suffers from epilepsy and says he was denied his medication and was beaten by the police while in custody.
Last Friday the trial began against the doctor Artiom Sorokin and the journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich. Together, they revealed the police’s lie about the fatally beaten Raman Bandarenka. On November 11, 2020, Bandarenka was beaten to the ground at home on his own farm. He was abducted by masked men, and it is suspected that not only the security service but also the chairman of the Belarus Hockey Federation took part in the beating. The following day, Bandarenka died of his injuries.
The Belarusian police later claimed that Bandarenka had been drunk. Crime reporter Barysevich from independent tut.by i is now accused, together with doctor Artiom Sorokin, of having published information from the hospital record for Bandarenka without permission – something to which the relatives had given their permission. According to the blood test, he had zero blood alcohol content.
Last Thursday two journalists, Katsiaryna Andrejeva and Darja Tjultsova, were sentenced to two years in prison for broadcasting live during the demonstrations for Bandarenka. Andrejeva and Tjultsova work for the Polish-funded TV channel Belsat and are convicted of disturbing public order.
Ever since incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko grossly manipulated the election results in the presidential election on August 9, 2020, Belarus has been shaken by demonstrations demanding the resignation of the president. In recent months, protests have declined in size as a result of a systematic wave of repression. The opposition says it is planning new demonstrations in the spring.
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