On Friday, 5 March, the Moskovsky District Court passed judgement on Viktor Babariko’s team volunteer. Anton Belensky was accused of organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order during a rally on 9 August last year.
The court found Anton Belensky guilty and sentenced him to one and a half years of restriction of freedom in an open-type correctional facility. While the defence is appealing the verdict, Anton Belensky has been released from custody on recognizance not to leave. Family, friends, as well as Maria Kolesnikova’s father Alexander and another convicted Babariko’s team volunteer Levon Khalatryan met him as he left the courthouse.
What was Belensky tried for?
On 10 August, Anton Belensky was detained within the framework of the case of mass riots [Article 293] of the Criminal Code of Belarus. It happened on the 17th floor of the Belarus hotel. During the investigation, the charge was changed to Part 1 of Art. 342 [Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order – Ed.] of the Criminal Code of Belarus.
According to the indictment, Anton Belensky, knowing about the unauthorized mass event scheduled for 9 August “and in order to obstruct duties of law enforcement officers, joined a group of citizens who grossly violated public order on Masherov Avenue.” The investigators claim that he publicly shouted slogans, blocked the work of public transport, formed human chains and refused to comply with the orders of the police, and also persuaded others to take part in illegal actions.
Anton Belensky has partially pleaded guilty. He admitted that on 9 August he indeed took part in a peaceful rally, shouted slogans and clapped his hands and was on the roadway. However, he did not refuse to comply with the lawful orders of the police officers and did not persuade other people to join in.