Four people in Minsk were sentenced to imprisonment for the inscription “We will not forget” near an improvised memorial to Alexander Taraikovsky at the Pushkinskaya metro station. Maria Bobovich, 25, was sentenced to two years of home confinement for the same offence.
Maxim Pavlyushchik, 26, who wrote “We will not forget” at the site of where Alexander Taraikovsky was shot dead, was sentenced to two years in a penal colony. Denis Grekhanov, 42, and Igor Samusenko, 25, will spend one and a half years in an open-type correctional institution. Vladislav Gulis, 25, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a strict regime colony.
Maria Bobovich, 25, was sentenced to two years of home confinement for the same offence. After the trial she was released from custody on recognizance not to leave and proper behavior. Maria Bobovich has no previous convictions. Maxim Pavlyushchik was previously tried under Art. 339 [Hooliganism committed repeatedly, either by a group of persons, or associated with resistance to a person deterring acts of hooliganism], and served his sentence. Human rights activists recognized both of them as political prisoners.
In court, Gorremavtodor said that the young people caused damage to the property in the amount BYN 211 (earlier it was BYN 7,500). In this regard, the charges under Part 2 of Art. 218 [Intentional destruction or property damage] against Bobovich and Pavlyushchik were dropped. Also, the court ruled that the inscription was not cynical.
Making his final statement, Maxim Pavlyushchik spoke emotionally, didn’t hold back his tears. He apologized to the court and his family, said that he was ashamed of his act, he repented, and asked to give him a chance and sentence to home confinement so that he could be with his relatives. Maria Bobovich said that she repented and regreted what she had done, asked not to limit her freedom.
Denis Grekhanov works as a bartender, Igor Samusenko works as a bicycle rental administrator, and Vladislav Gulis is a car washer. In court, Grekhanov said that he had no hooligan motives, he did not want to offend anyone or express disrespect for society. The two other defendants also noted that they didn’t have hooligan motives.
Samusenko explained: “We were just passing by. This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. I did not break public order, I had an ordinary life, I ignored all these rallies, I didn’t take part in anything like that. Hooligan motives were out of the question. We did not have any goals.”
Gorremavtodor reduced the amount of property damage from BYN 10,000 to BYN 255. The relatives of the accused reimbursed the amount of damage to the enterprise. Human rights activists also recognised Grekhanov, Samusenko and Gulis as political prisoners.
The Investigative Committee of Belarus suspended the investigation of Taraikovsky’s death. A criminal case has not been initiated, although there is a person, who witnessed the death and Associated Press video refuting the official version of the Interior Ministry that the man had died after an explosive device detonated in his hand.
Recall that Alexander Taraikovsky was shot dead during the protests on 10 August. It happened near the Pushkinskaya metro station. After that, an improvised memorial with the inscription “We won’t forget” on the pavement appeared every now and then. Utility workers periodically sprinkled it and other inscriptions with technical salt, but people continued to restore the phrase.