Dzmitry Paliyenka, an activist awarded a 2-year suspended sentence for his involvement in the Critical Mass cycling protest in April 2016, will spend 1.5 years of the term in a penal colony.
A court in Minsk revoked the suspension over alleged violations of related restrictions. Taking into account the time spent in pretrial detention, the activist will have to serve 18 months and 13 days. The sentence delivered by judge Alena Kaptsevich cannot be appealed.
According to a police inspector, who supervised the activist’s suspended sentence, Paliyenka’s record features four violations. These include two administrative penalties imposed for his involvement in public activity. On March 10, Paliyenka was sentenced to seven days in jail for alleged disorderly conduct following his detention in the courtroom, after he publicly protested against a verdict handed down in so-called ‘case of antifascists’. On March 20, he was sentenced by Zavadzki district court of Minsk to 15 days of administrative detention for protesting against the construction of an office building next to the Kurapaty memorial site in Minsk.
On the day Dzmitry Paliyenka was expected to be released after serving his latest administrative penalty, he was sentenced to another 10 days of detention on trumped-up charges and remained in Zhodzina jail. Human rights activists say this was done in order to hold the activist pending today’s court decision.
As a result, the court quashed the suspension of the initial sentence.
On April 29, about 35 cyclists gathered in downtown Minsk to take part in the Critical Mass cycling event, an action that was aimed at ‘reclaiming the streets’, i.e. asserting their rights. Although the event was observed by a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the riot police brutally detained several activists.
Paliyenka was charged with using violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code). In late August he was accused of… porno-peddling. The court found the activist guilty under the both arlicles: in October, 2016 he was sentenced to two years of impisonment with a two-year reprieve.
Having spent six months in jail, paliyenka was a guest of Belsat TV program Human Affairs. “I was released because Lukashenka did not want more sanctions to be imposed,” he said.