Belarusian court sentences railway saboteurs to 22 years in prison


KYIV (Reuters) – A Belarusian court on Friday sentenced two men to 22 years in prison for their roles in acts of sabotage of the railway network intended to slow the movement of Russian forces through the country, rights group Viasna said.

The two men, Dmitry Klimov, 28, and Vladimir Aramtsev, 27, were tried and found guilty of five charges, including treason and terrorism, the group said.

A third man, Yevgeny Minkevich, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for failing to report the actions, but was released by the court as he was deemed to have served sufficient time in detention before the ruling.

The three men were arrested by Belarusian authorities at the end of March last year. One of the men was shot in the kneecap during his arrest.

The two-week trial took place behind closed doors at the Mogilevsk regional court, Viasna said.

After Russia used Belarus as a launchpad to invade Ukraine last February, dozens of acts of sabotage were committed on the Belarusian railway.

Saboteurs disabled equipment responsible for traffic control, which led to blockages on certain sections of railroad.

Belarusian authorities have officially reported the arrest of 13 people for railway sabotage.

In total, according to human rights activists, there are now about 1,500 political prisoners in Belarusian prisons.


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