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Belarus opens criminal case over Rammstein video repost

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"Pussy" video screenshot

A criminal case has indeed been filed against the 25-year-old Hrodna resident Andrei Halavenka for posting the “Pussy” video clip of the German band Rammstein, Syarhei Sharshanevich, the official representative of the Investigative Committee's branch office for the Hrodna region told Euroradio on April 10.

“This case is under investigation, criminal proceedings have been initiated. However, it should be said that even the existence of a criminal case against a person does not make them guilty. It is decided by the court,” he said.

“This is ridiculous! If they hadn’t shown this to me, I wouldn’t even have remembered about this video”

In a comment to Euroradio, Andrei Halavenka said that he was very surprised by the accusation.

“On April 8, I was summoned to the Investigative Committee office and told that a criminal case had been filed for peddling porno. When I asked who I was in the case, it turned out that I was a suspect,” said the Hrodna resident.

The man asked the investigators for an explanation.

“The Investigative Committee representative showed me the results of the examination of the Rammstein video. It turns out that I added it to my VKontakte page back in September 2014. If I hadn’t been shown it, I wouldn’t have remembered. I had a lot of videos on the page!"

Investigators said that, based on the examination, this music video is pornographic. Now the young man faces 2 to 4 years in prison. Later the law enforcement officers asked Andrei, when and why he posted the video on his page.

“Honestly, I didn’t remember about it at all. I would even say more: did I really watch it?” Andrei wonders. “Moreover, I don’t understand why they are picking on me so hard and what it is about. I didn’t have issues with the law, all that there once was -- administrative cases for disorderly conduct and fighting and jaywalking. "

Andrei Halavenka is going to turn to human rights activists for help. According to the Hrodna resident, the whole thing is “some kind of nonsense”: “Vkontakte” does not block this video, it can be freely distributed on this social network.

In social networks you can find a photo of Halavenka with the leader of Lyapis Trubetskoy and Brutto Syarhei Mikhalok. Andrei sayd he is a big fan of Belarusian musicians and often goes to gigs. He never thought that the love of music could lead to a criminal case.