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26.04.2006

SOS Young Belarusian facing a long prison sentence for writing graffiti

   

Activist of the Belarusian young people’s democratic movement, “Youth Front”, Artur Finkevich, is facing a sentence of between 7 and 12 years imprisonment.

This is the most complicated of all the criminal cases brought on political grounds. Artur was detained in Minsk during the night of 30 January this year and charged with writing graffiti on the wall of a building  – the words “We want something new!” At first he was charged with malicious hooliganism, and he has been held since January in a pre-trial detention centre (CIZO) in Minsk. However he was recently also charged under Paragraph 3 of Article 218 (deliberate destruction or damage to property on a particularly large scale). The communal services estimated the damage which he had supposedly caused the city as mounting to 17000 dollars.

He now faces imprisonment for a period of between 7 and 12 years, and this is for “political” graffiti.  Even in Belarus this is absolutely unprecedented.

What makes matters worse is that with this Article there is no provision for suspended sentences, and even voluntary repayment of the (alleged) damages would not free him from criminal liability.

We have launched a campaign to draw the attention of all concerned people to Artur’s fate.

We are planning to meet with ambassadors from European Union countries this week and to ask their governments to exert influence on the government in Belarus.

More information can be found on the website www.spring96.org

We would be very grateful for any help.  There is not much time left, unfortunately, since the case is due in court in May. 

PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO AS MANY PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS AS YOU CAN! 

Write to your own governments asking them to intercede, and / or contact the above website

7 -10 YEARS IMPRISONMENT FOR GRAFFITI IS A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE!

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