Possible aftermath of teacher having sex with students in Belarus

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The verdict in the case of Jennifer Fichter - 22 years in prison - has resonated in Belarus as well. Clearly, putting a good-looking 30-year-old teacher in prison for such term for voluntary sex with high school students looks...a little steep. Even taking into account the fact that the sentence was affected by her other crimes: lies during the investigation and the obstacles put in its way. But it is not all so simple. Lawyer Tamara Sidarenka said that in Belarus for the same offense the American would have received most likely the maximum possible term of 6 years. It all depends on the students' dependence on their teacher:

"She is a teacher, and taught them, she also had some extra classes. That is the case. The Belarusian court would likely recognize the dependence of these young men from their teacher. I think the offense here would have been like that. Based on part 2 of article 170, it is from 3 to 6 years in prison. By the way, it has recently been made upgraded. Previously, it was up to 4 years," says Tamara Sidarenka.

She added that all other crimes of Jennifer Fichter - lies during testimony, inducing victims to lie, interfere with the investigation, which were taken into account by the US court - in Belarus just do not overlap. After all, according to our law, "the total sentence cannot be greater than the maximum sentence for the most serious crime". That is, in Belarus, Ms Fichter would not have been put behind bars for more than 6 years, if at all.

"I do not recall there being such cases in many years of legal practice. I do not remeber there being a teacher tried for an intimate relationship with high school students. It happened quite often with primary school students, but not voluntarily and with 17-year-olds. Although, at the household level, we all know about such cases. Belarus is no different, probably, from the rest of the world," said Tamara Sidarenka.

Article 170 of the Belarus Criminal Code:

Coercion to perform sexual acts

1. Forcing a person to sexual intercourse, sodomy, lesbianism or other actions of  sexual nature using blackmail, the threat of destruction, damage or removing property or by using the professional, material or other dependence of the male (female) victim (victim) - is punished by restriction of freedom for up to three years, or imprisonment for the same term.

2. The same act committed against a female (male) minor shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of three to six years.