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Pensioner sentenced for comments in telegram and 'hatred towards regime'

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Prosecutor Ala Kuzma

On February 7, a Minsk court sentenced Halina Mikhalchuk, a 69-year-old pensioner from Vaukavysk, to 2.5 years of general regime colony. According to human rights activists, the woman was taken into custody in the courtroom. 

Prosecutor Ala Kuzma represented the state prosecution

Mikhalchuk was found guilty under three articles of the Criminal Code - defamation of the President, insult of the President, and insult of a public official. The reason was her comments in the local telegram channel, where she wrote comments about local officials and police officers and Mikalai Karpenkou, Yury Karayeu, Natalia Kachanava.

Vaukavysk officials and police officers made material claims ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 BYN. They didn't appear in court. The defendant petitioned to summon some of them to understand the moral suffering they had endured. To this, the judge said: "How do you imagine it? That they would come in during lunchtime?"

Halina Mikhalchuk admitted the claims partially, as she has a pension of 500 rubles per month and cannot pay the compensation immediately. She added that two years had passed, and she could not remember exactly what she had written.

State prosecutor Ala Kuzma said that the pensioner was "charged with a feeling of hatred towards the regime." 

Halina Mikhalchuk's 78-year-old husband Raman Siryk was a witness in the case. He works as a radiologist in a Vaukavysk policlinic. He said his wife's comments were due to the state of health and several drugs she takes. The man is sure that his wife had no intentions to humiliate anyone.

Halina Mikhalchuk was convicted even before this trial. October 26, 2021, she was sentenced to two years of "house arrest" for insulting a representative of the authorities (Article 369 of the Criminal Code). Before the trial, the pensioner was in custody for two months (from September 211 to November 211, 2021).

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