Anarchist Zmitser Paliyenka attempts suicide in court room
Activist Zmitser Paliyenka whose criminal case was heard at the Minsk City Court on 17 October attempted to slash his wrists just before the trial.
The hearing was stopped. Paliyenka was searched and taken out of the cage under escort.
People were taken to the corridor, where the lights were turned off. But no one was leaving. The people started to push each other, the police were trying to detain some activists.
Activist Vyachaslau Kasinerau was being detained, but he grabbed the rails and the police couldn’t tear him off.
Five cases have been brought against Paliyenka:
– under Article 341 – for making a graffiti in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era mass grave site near Minsk;
– under Article 369 – for insulting former Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich;
– under Article 130 – for inciting enmity towards police officers;
– under Article 339-3 – for hooliganism;
and one more – under Art. 341 – for the graffiti ‘Cops Kill People’.
On 17 October Minsk City Court dropped the charges under the last three criminal articles: “insulting a representative of the authorities”, “inciting racial, religious or other social hatred” and “desecration of buildings and damage to property”.
According to the Investigative Committee, Dzmitry Paliyenka sprayed pepper gas from in the face of a person who allegedly reprimanded him for smoking in the entrance. Friends of Paliyenka say it was self-defense against a drunk attacker.
After he was brought back to the court room, Zmitser Paliyenka said:
“I’ve made sure the trial is open”.
In 2016, Paliyenka was convicted of “violence or threat of violence against an employee of the Interior Ministry” and “production and distribution of pornographic materials or items of a pornographic nature”. He was released in October 2018.
The international human rights organization Amnesty International recognized him as a prisoner of conscience. Belarusian human rights activists called his sentence politically motivated.