Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Young Belarusian Faces 7-12 Year Prison Term

Maidan has an item about Artur Finkevich, a young Belarusian activist who faces a prison sentence of between 7 and 12 years for having written graffiti on the wall of a building in Minsk.
This is the most complicated of all the criminal cases brought on political grounds. Artur was detained in Minsk during the night of 30 January this year and charged with writing graffiti on the wall of a building – the words “We want something new!” At first he was charged with malicious hooliganism, and he has been held since January in a pre-trial detention centre (CIZO) in Minsk. However he was recently also charged under Paragraph 3 of Article 218 (deliberate destruction or damage to property on a particularly large scale). The communal services estimated the damage which he had supposedly caused the city as mounting to 17000 dollars.

He now faces imprisonment for a period of between 7 and 12 years, and this is for “political” graffiti. Even in Belarus this is absolutely unprecedented.

What makes matters worse is that with this Article there is no provision for suspended sentences, and even voluntary repayment of the (alleged) damages would not free him from criminal liability.
Maidan has organized a campaign to draw attention to Artur's case, and gives contact details and suggestions for possible international action.

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