Artist from Vitebsk sentenced to two years in prison for “an intention to strike a policeman.”
Vitebsk Oktyabrsky District Court found 27 years old Vladislav Makovetskiy guilty of attacking police officers during a protest on September 6 and convicted him to two years in an ordinary regime penal colony, informs Viasna Human Rights Centre.
Makovetskiy was arrested on September 18, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs press service posted a video of the search. Law-enforcement authorities believe that the defendant “is a member of a youth opposition movement, is very interested in fascist symbols and takes an active part in protests.”
Natalia Makovetskaya, the mother of the defendant, commented to TUT.BY: “He’s an artist, a collector, a person who’s interested in history, not a nazi. During the search, the police only filmed and later showed the part of my son’s World War II collection that had to do with fascism, because that would play into their hands.”
According to Natalia, her son and his lawyer were shown a video of him allegedly attacking policemen with a rubber truncheon during the September 6 protest on Pravda street in Vitebsk: “Protesters ran to someone’s rescue. Vlad is a fast runner, so he was among the first ones there. As I saw in a video on the internet, he was hit on his arm with a truncheon. He blocked the blow and the truncheon bounced off. Vladislav picked it up, but threw it aside right away.”
In court, the prosecutor asked for a sentence of three years for Makovetskiy. The defense lawyer applied to add to the case files the documentation on the compensation for moral damage, that the affected police officers reported of — junior sergeant Alexander Petrovskiy (500 BYN) and senior sergeant Dmitry Fedotov (200 BYN). In court they stated they no longer have any material or moral claims against Makovetskiy, judge Snezhana Kindeyeva granted the application.
In his statement, the prosecutor claimed that Makovetskiy “took an active part in the march, and was intentionally taking swings at police officer Petrovskiy with an object resembling a rubber truncheon. Had an intention to strike the policeman, grabbed at his hands, inflicted physical pain on him.” The young man was also accused of verbally threatening police officers.
Makovetskiy’s lawyer drew the court’s attention to the fact that her defendant had no previous violations. She believes that his guilt has not been proven, and the testimony of the aggrieved party is “contradictory, inconsistent, and should be treated critically.” She thinks that the prosecution has no conclusive evidence of intent in Makavetski’s actions.
She also said that on September 20, after learning about the injuries inflicted on Makovetskiy, she requested a forensic examination. It was carried out with a long delay, which did not allow the expert to determine how the injuries were obtained.
In his final statement, Vladislav Makovetskiy said that he didn’t cause harm to anyone and never intended to. “It just happened, and I’m sorry. Please don’t punish me severely. I don’t have anything to add.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty. Judge Snezhana Kindeyeva found Vladislav Makovetskiy guilty in violation of Article 264 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to two years in an ordinary regime penal colony.