Belarus court sentences man whose daughter was killed in shelling of Kyiv to two years in penal colony for ‘insulting Lukashenka’

A Belarusian court has sentenced a resident of the village Khatolya, Oleksandr Potapov, to two years in a penal colony over charges of insulting Alyaksandar Lukashenka on the Internet, Viasna Human Rights Centre reports.

Photo: Oleksandr Potapov / Viasna Human Rights Centre

Photo: Oleksandr Potapov / Viasna Human Rights Centre

On 25 August, Potapov was detained on suspicion of insulting Lukashenka in the comments on Russian social network service Odnoklassniki. According to Viasna, Potapov was previously fined for distribution and storage of information containing calls for extremism.

“The Ukraine native has been living in Belarus since 1997. After his daughter Oksana had been killed in Ukraine at the hands of Russian servicemen, the man, while in an emotional state, posted two comments, on 8 and 16 July 2022, that experts found ‘insulting’,” the human rights defenders say.

Potapov’s daughter was killed and his underage niece was left without a leg in an attack on Kyiv.

During one of the previous court hearings, Potapov complained of poor health, headache, and weakness. The doctor from the pre-trial detention facility called in to the court said that Potapov was receiving medical care in the facility and there was no need for hospitalisation.

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