Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English
Yury Karnilovich, a 31-year-old welder at the MAZ automotive manufacturer, was sentenced today to three years in an open-type penal colony (so called “khimiya”) for allegedly insulting former Interior Minister Yury Karayeu in a comment on YouTube. The sentence is the heaviest possible penalty provided by the charge.
The Zavodski District Court of Minsk found him guilty under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code over an offensive comment, which was not voiced at the trial since it contained obscene language. The remark was posted under a video on United Civil Party’s YouTube channel and is said to have criticized the high official’s lack of courage in confronting Aliaksandr Lukashenka over the latter’s disrespect for the Constitution.
The alleged victim himself, however, was never questioned, either by the investigators or in court.
Judge Anzhela Kastsiukevich concluded that the defendant “degraded Karayeu’s honor and dignity, caused his moral suffering, undermined his authority, personal and professional qualities, as well as the authority of the police in general.”
Yury Karnilovich said he did post the comment, but refused to admit it was “offensive”.
Before the trial, Karnilovich was forced to apologize in a video confession later published by the Interior Ministry.
On December 11, the Viciebsk District Court sentenced Yahor Karapuzau, former contract serviceman, to 18 months of “khimiya” imprisonment for using the word “tvar’” (“scum”) in a Telegram comment addressing local police officer Andrei Zuyeu.
According to the defendant, the offensive comment stems from an earlier incident when Zuyeu bullied him after his arrest at a protest on August 11.
Karapuzau said that the policeman approached him and said, “Why do you need your freedom, slave? What are you going to do with it?”
Just like Yury Karnilovich, Karapuzau was also forced to publicly apologize for insulting the police officer.