Belarusian youth activist Artem Dubsky faces term of imprisonment
Charges have been brought against Artem Dubsky, “Youth Front” activist and one of the fourteen tried for their part in a peaceful protest by businesspeople on 10 January 2008. He could face from 6 months to 3 years imprisonment.
Artems lawyer, Tamara Sidarenka, told Charter㥩 that her client was charged under article 415 of the Criminal Code (evading punishment in the form of restriction of liberty) and had been remanded in custody. She believes the investigation will last about a month.
Artem was arrested on 11 February on returning from Ukraine where he went after receiving three warnings, two of them being falsified.
An attempt was made on 3 March to try him under Article 216 § 1 of the Criminal Code (causing material damage without elements of theft”). The story is somewhat bizarre: he was charged with using another persons SIM card to access the Internet, and this was alleged to have mounted up a bill of 3 million Belarusian roubles to Velcom mobile operator.
Fortunately the authorities did not push this story to the bitter end, and Artem was released after a so-called “conciliation of the parties” with the “aggrieved part” being compensated for the damages. He was however immediately taken into custody again and charged as above.
The sentence of restriction of liberty was over his involvement in what Belarusians call the “trial of 14”. For their participation in that entirely peaceful demonstration by businesspeople, Andrei Kim was sentenced to one and a half years imprisonment (he was released in August 2008) Artem was one of a number of participants sentenced to three years restriction of liberty but without imprisonment.
From information at www.charter97.org