Attorney Vitaly Braginets Is Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Attorney Vitaly Braginets is sentenced to eight years' reinforced regime imprisonment.

The news will be updated.

Vitaly Braginets was found guilty and sentenced under Article 342, Part 1 of the Criminal Code to 1 year and 6 months of imprisonment (for “active participation in actions that grossly violate public order”);
Under Article 361-1, Part 1 of the Criminal Code — 4 years of imprisonment (“creation of or participation in an extremist group”);
Under Article 130, Part 3 of the Criminal Code — 7 years of imprisonment (“incitement to hatred”);
Under Article 361, Part 3 of the Criminal Code — 5 years of imprisonment (“calling for restrictive measures (sanctions)”).

The cumulative sentence comprises eight years of a reinforced regime imprisonment. We shall remind you that the attorney’s trial was closed to the public.

On 23 May 2022, the KGB officers detained the attorney who was an active defender in politically motivated cases, including the defense in the criminal case of attorney Andrei Mochalov. On 25 May 2022 an administrative case was heard in the court of Partizanski district of Minsk (judge N. Dedkova). It turned out that a report was drawn up on V. Braginets that he was taken to Partizanski District Police Department "to be checked for his involvement in protest activities'', after which the attorney allegedly started swearing, shouting and trying to leave the police department, thus committing disobedience to a legal request of a police officer (Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences). The court considered the offense proven and sentenced Vitaly to administrative arrest for 15 days.

When interviewing witnesses in court, Braginets’ defender asked the witness: "You claim that Vitaly Braginets has tried to escape. Do you insist on it?", to which the witness replied: "Yes, because it was a movement, smoothly turning into a run, towards the open gate. And at the same time, the citizen was addressing those standing at the bus stop. He shouted that he was illegally detained."

It is noteworthy that the attorney was brought to administrative liability on the eve of a court hearing in which he was to defend Andrei Mochalov (the latter was deprived of his lawyer status in 2021 and accused of using forged documents). As a result, on 6 June 2022, when the trial started, the court refused to postpone the hearing until the expiry of V. Braginets' arrest and forcibly appointed another defense lawyer from the bar association.

Braginets was due to serve his sentence and be released on the morning of 7 June, but was repeatedly prosecuted for administrative offenses and subjected to another administrative arrest.

As it became known later, a criminal case was initiated against him and he remains in custody as of September 2022. In July 2022 V. Braginets was declared to be a political prisoner.
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