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Belarus seeks death penalty for 'attemped acts of terrorism'
The result of the "attack" on the house of Deputy Aleh Haidukevich is a burnt cat's nose / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio
Belarusian MPs want to introduce the death penalty for "attempted acts of terrorism." At the same time, it's not an easy guess what an act of terrorism is for them: an attempt to set fire to a summer house or an inappropriate Telegram correspondence.
We have recalled the individuals involved in high-profile cases which can now be prosecuted under the "firing squad" article.
An Afghan war veteran Mikalai Autukhovich is credited with setting fire to a police officer's house in Vaukavysk and blowing up a law enforcement officer's car in Hrodna. At first, the authorities launched a criminal case against him under the article "Intentional Damage to Property Committed in an All-Hazardous Way." Still, it was readjusted for the article "Act of Terrorism." Pavel Sava, Artur Papok, Siarhei Rezanovich, Liubou Rezanovich, Iryna Melkher and Halina Derbysh are charged under the terrorist article together with Autukhovich.
The cases of four anarchists, the "Alinevich group," may come up in connection with the novelty of the terrorist article. On October 28, 2020, the men were detained near the Ukrainian border. The KGB believes they set fire to the traffic police department in Mazyr and cars near the prosecutor's office in Salihorsk. They were accused of carrying weapons across the border between Ukraine and Belarus. As a result, they were all charged with Article 289. Ihar Alinevich and Siarhey Ramanau were sentenced to 20 years in jail, Dzmitry Rezanovich to 19 years and Dzmitry Dubouski to 18 years.
Viarbitski the telegrammer
For Ivan Viarbitski, a resident of Halshany, trolling in the Telegrams with appeals to set fire to the Prosecutor's Office of the Ashmiany District turned into eight years and one month in prison. Conditionally speaking, he was "lucky" that he was convicted in 2021: now, he could have been sentenced to the execution for an attempted terrorist act.
Malaichuk and his (non)mysterious accomplice
In 2021, the authorities accused Vyachaslau Malaichuk, a 35-year-old resident of the Pinsk district, of preparing a terrorist act in Minsk and Barysau. None of the "explosive devices" worked: security forces surprisingly "caught" Vyachaslau in time before he planted the device while keeping silent about his accomplice. Malaichuk has been in jail for a year and has not been tried. This means that the man could lose his life without completing a "terrorist attack."
A firing squad for Haidukevich's burnt cat?
The case may be taking a severe turn for the Vaitsekhovich family. According to state propaganda, these people threw three Molotov cocktails into the house of MP Aleh Haidukevich in August 2021.
The "terrorist act" was not brought to an end - the house did not burn down, but the cat was injured. The detainees are prosecuted under the article "Act of terrorism against a public figure."
The firing squad article may be applied to a 34-year-old resident of Barysau who, in 2020 and 2021, burned down two road toll system portals in the Barysau district. The damage is estimated as especially large - more than 450 000 rubles. He was charged under four articles of the Criminal Code, including Article 289 - "An act of terrorism."
The dacha did not burn down, but the term is real
In April 2022, Minsk resident Aliaksandr Zaitsau was sentenced to 10 years in a reinforced regime penal colony for an "attempted act of terrorism committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy." Zaitsau was detained on August 22, 2021, near the summer house of Supreme Court Chairman Valiantsin Sukala. He tried to set fire to the dacha but failed. "The defendant was unable to carry out his intention to the end, as law enforcement officers timely suppressed illegal actions, thus ensuring public safety," said the prosecution.
General Prosecutor's Office wrote about Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that she posted videos calling for an act of terrorism. This means that now the terrorist Article 289 hanging over her may take on an entirely different connotation. As well as for Pavel Latushka, Anton Matolka and all those listed by the KGB as involved in terrorist activities.