Belarus convicts mercenary from eastern Ukraine


On 16 November, Homiel Regional Court convicted Recyca resident Vital Mitrafanau for taking part in combat on the territory of a foreign country. The trial lasted two weeks, reports

The court found the 41-year-old man guilty of 'ideological mercenarism' (Article 361 (3) in the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to two years of restricted freedom in a labor colony.

Before the verdict comes into force, Mitrafanau was released under recognizance not to leave the country. One day in pretrial detention will be calculated as two days of the restricted freedom term.

Mitrafanau was on the territory of the so called Donetsk People's Republic from April to June 2017. According to investigation, he guarded various warehouses and carried out military duties in a armed unit at the separation line in eastern Ukraine. In early July, the man returned to Belarus where he was detained several weeks after and kept in pretrial detention.

In court, Mitrafanau pleaded guilty and repented of the offence.

The man is married, has previous convictions. He was born in the Russian city of Nizhnevartobsk but has a Belarus citizenship.

This is the second crimial case for mercenary activities considered by Belarusian courts over the past six months. In September 2017, a court in Viciebsk sentenced Aliaksei Yarshou, 29 to two years of restricted freedom. He was found guilty of mercenary activities on the territory of a foreign country (Ukraine). The trial took place behind closed doors. In one and a half month, the man reportedly fled Belarus and returned to 'Donetsk People's Republic.'