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Story of Aleksei Sanchuk - Face of Protest #6

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In November, the law enforcement officers detained at a rehearsal in Minsk the drummers' group "Demand to Disperse", which became one of the symbols of the protests in the autumn. The musicians were administratively convicted for taking part in an unsanctioned protest, but one of the detainees at that time Aleksei Sanchuk was never released after a 15-day detention.

Source: Viasna, Euroradio

A criminal case was opened against Aleksei Sanchuk. On ONT’s "penitential video" Aleksei said after his arrest: "I was learning the rhythm". According to other detained musicians, during the arrest officers of GUBOPiK beat Aleksei and demanded his phone password. Aleksei himself claimed in court that he had been subjected to moral pressure.

By the words of the prosecution, Aleksei Sanchuk "under the pretext of mass events" in Minsk committed actions that grossly violated public order: he blocked the roadway, showed clear disobedience to the police officers, shouted slogans, clapped his hands loudly and waved a white-red-white flag.

The investigators also said that he "had organised a community where he trained people and induced people to commit group actions which grossly violated public order". He was accused of having trained individuals to participate in mass events, making loud hand claps, disturbing the peace of citizens. The prosecution alleged that between June and November 2020 Aleksei conspired to create a telegram chat room with the aim of expressing political views.

Aleksei Sanchuk had been on trial for almost a month in Moskovski District Court of Minsk. On 13 May the verdict was pronounced in his case. Judge Tatsiana Pirozhnikava sentenced the political prisoner to six years of jail in a reinforced regime. Minsktrans also sued Aleksei for 161,900 Br (64 300 $) for blocking the roads.

Sanchuk Family / family Archive
Sanchuk Family / family Archive

Aleksei’s wife Anna Sanchuk spoke about his attitude to the situation in Belarus

— When all this campaign turmoil started, when they started to imprison presidential candidates and disperse queues of people who wanted to leave their signatures, he couldn’t stay on the sidelines. He said he could not take lawlessness calmly: "Who else but me? If everyone sits in his kitchen and discusses the news, nothing will change in our country. And if people see that I go out, and that my neighbour and friend also go out, then others will start to go out too, a lot of people will go out". And when he was asked if he had thought about the child, he replied that his daughter was the first person he had thought about, and he wanted her to live in a free and independent country, where you and your voice are respected and heard. He wished she would live in a state where people at work are not treated like slaves and paid pennies.