Minsk: Court sentences Critical Mass cycling event arrestee to 2 years in jail

Belarusian activist and cyclist Dzmitry Paliyenka has been sentenced to two years of impisonment with a two-year reprieve.


The defendant was released in the courtroom; his friends, representatives of the Belarusian anarchist movement, gave him a warm welcome and treated him with a cake.

Officially 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.

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. The event was observed by a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.

The cyclists were moving along the road, but were soon cut up by a police bus. As a result, at least six people were detained, including the BHC observer. The detainees were reportedly thrown into the bus, forced to face the floor, and suffered blows in their stomachs and faces. The bicycles were thrown on top of the detainees, who were then brought to the district police department.

Later the most of them were released, but Dzmitry Paliyenka remained in custody.