The Supreme Court upheld the sentence of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok

Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English

Mikalai Dziadok Source:

On January 25, 2022, the Supreme Court considered the appeal against the sentence of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok. The 33-year-old political prisoner, blogger, and activist of the anarchist movement was sentenced in Minsk City Court on November 10. Judge Anastasiya Papko found him guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code: Art. 342 (Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them), art. 361 (Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus), art. 295-3 (Illegal actions in relation to objects which action is based on use of combustible substances) and sentenced him of five years of restricted freedom in a penal colony. This was the punishment requested by prosecutor Anton Tsiumentsau.  Mikalai pleaded not guilty under either article.
Mikalai Dziadok’s appeal was considered by the judicial board of the Supreme Court, which included judges Uladzimir Davydau, Andrei Kavalchuk, and Mikalai Hryntsevich. The prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s Office Andreyeu took part in the sitting. The board dismissed the complaint and upheld the verdict.
In his appeal, Mikalai Dziadok did not dispute the fact that he had posted articles in his Telegram channel and had participated in mass events but stressed that he did not intend to harm the national security of Belarus, but exercised his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. He expressed confidence that there was no evidence in the case to prove his guilt. The explanatory note on the bottle containing a combustible substance has had no signature, which confirmed the falsification of evidence. Also, during the trial, he said that he had been tortured and beaten after his arrest.
In his complaint, Mikolai Dziadok noted that the court had not taken into account the norms of international law in sentencing. 
“The punishment of imprisonment is not properly justified, and the punishment itself is disproportionate,” Dziadok said in the complaint.
The lawyer noted the court’s selective evaluation of the results of linguistic analysis, noticeable contradictions in them, as well as the fact that Dziadok’s testimony was given under duress after torture. The defense attorney also noted the unproven episodes, a number of contradictions, and inadmissible evidence in the case. Therefore, she asked to overturn the conviction and stop the criminal proceedings.
The board dismissed the complaint and upheld the verdict. This means that soon Mikalai Dziadok will be transported to a penal colony to serve his five-year sentence.