The Minsk City Court sentenced a 21-year-old fourth-year student of the Belarusian State Medical University, Vladislav Martinovich. He was found guilty of seeking to harm national security by running the White Bathrobes Telegram channel. Judge Elena Ananich sentenced the student to four years in prison in a general regime colony, informs human rights center “Vesna”.
According to the investigation, Martinovich from August 9 to November 18, 2020 “created the Telegram channel“ White Bathrobes ”. There, the student “repeatedly distributed various materials using methods aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country, artificially aggravating tension and confrontation in society, spreading the ideology of extremism, and weakening the feeling of patriotism in society.”
According to the case file, the Telegram channel posted calls for the mass dismissal of medical workers, poor-quality medical care and participation in protests and strikes. A number of publications were devoted to “ways of countering the current government”, other messages “discredited law enforcement officers.”
“The purpose of the resource is to influence the consciousness and will of healthcare workers and medicine in the Republic of Belarus, as well as students and teachers of medical educational institutions of the country,” the indictment says.
Martinovich’s actions were qualified under Part 3 of Art. 361 of the Criminal Code (public calls for action aimed at harming the national security of Belarus using the Internet).
Martinovic was arrested on November 19, 2020. At the same time, Tut.by journalist Katerina Borisevich and doctor Artem Sorokin were detained. Their condemned in the future for the disclosure of medical documents of the murdered resident of the “Square of Changes” Romana Bondarenko.
At the beginning of the trial, Martinovic pleaded not guilty, but in September he filed a motion for a full admission of guilt and remorse.
Prosecutor Alexander Romanovich requested 4 years of imprisonment for the student. Belarusian human rights activists consider Martinovich a political prisoner.