Authorities planned death penalty for Ploshcha participants
17:57, — Politics
Participants of the protest rally on December 19, 2010 could be faced by charges which allow for 15-year-old imprisonment and death penalty.
Words of Mikalai Autukhovich, who was released yesterday after more than 5 years’ term in prison, prove that the authorities had prepared provocations against Belarusians who gathered on the Square (Ploshcha). As said by the former political prisoner, there had been plans to charge him with smuggling a shipment of weapons through the border of Belarus. He is convinced that the authorities wanted to connect it to the upcoming protest rally. Valyantsin Stefanovich, a human rights activist, explained to charter97.org website consequences of such an accusation.
“Everything depends on the aims for which this “shipment of arms” had been imported, according to investigators. So it is hard to say in which way it could be determined. There is an article “conspiracy and other actions with the aim of take-over.” There is an article “a terrorist attack”, which could be related to use of firearms, “diversion”. All of them are included to the chapter of the Criminal Code called “Crimes against the State” and allow for different kinds of punishment. For instance, “a plot with the aim of take-over” is punished by a term from 8 to 12 years in prison, while “seizure and retention of power” – from 10 to 15 years. When all these crimes go together with by deaths of people, the punishment is up to a capital punishment,” Valyantsin Stefanovich stated.
The human rights activist agrees with the political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich that such charges could have been used in order to apply harsher repressions against Ploshcha participants.
“All these articles could have been used in full. Both actions to seize the power, diversions… It is hard to say how it could be treated, but I think that at least as a terrorist attack, for sure. And if it would be connected to deaths of people, a capital punishment could have been used I think. I cannot say for sure, as those who had invented such charges should be asked about that. Just imagine a blast could have taken place on the Square. There would be a search for those who guilty, and they would face capital punishment,” the human rights activist said.
We remind that the protest rally on October 19, 2010 was one of the greatest mass actions of Belarusian opposition. More than 50,000 citizens of the country gathered to protest against rigged presidential election results. The protest was cruelly cracked down on by the troops and police.