Dzmitryi Sasnouski

case of the “Civil Self-Defense Units of Belarus”


Date of birth: 13 June 1990

Date of detention: 1 July 2021

Charges indicted:

Art. 361 of the Criminal Code — Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus
Art. 295 of the Criminal Code — Unlawful acts against firearms, ammunition and explosives
Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code — Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code — Incitement to hatred
Art. 290-4 of the Criminal Code — Establishing or participating in an organization for the purpose of terrorist activity
Art. 359 of the Criminal Code — Terrorist act against a state official or public figure

Sentence: 20 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony

Judge: Siarhei Yepikhau

Prison: Penal colony No. 1

On the list of “terrorists” (money transfers are prohibited)

Dzmitryi Sasnouski was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony and fined 22,400 Belarusian rubles (approx. $8,900). He was convicted under the following Articles of the Criminal Code:

  • part 1 of Article 361-1 (“creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it”),
  • part 2 of Article 290-4 (“participation in terrorist organization activity”),
  • part 1 of Article 359 (“an act of terrorism against a government official or a public figure” [requalified from ‘preparation’ during the trial]),
  • part 6 of Article 16, part 1 of Article 13 and part 2 of Article 295, part 1 of Article 14 and part 4 of Article 295 (“unlawful acts with firearms, ammunition, and explosives”),
  • part 3 of Article 361 ("calls for sanctions against Belarus"), and
  • part 1 of Article 130 (“incitement to social enmity or hatred”).

On October 19, 2022, the Minsk Regional Court began the trial of the case of the "Civil Self-Defense Unit of Belarus", recognized as a terrorist organization in Belarus. Five people were involved in the case: Dzmitryi Sasnouski, Aliaksei Hlotau, Natallia Matsveyeva, Vadzim Hulevich, and Kiryl Ashurak. They were tried under ten articles of the Criminal Code, including terrorism, and charged with three episodes—an attempt to blow up the Russian Navy communications hub in Viliejka (Minsk region), an attempt on the TV propagandist Ryhor Azaronak, and an attempt to destroy logging equipment in forestries.

On December 5, 2022, the verdicts were announced.

Dzmitryi Sasnouski was the only defendant in the case who did not plead guilty. When testifying in court, Sasnouski cried and said that he had been involved in the crime against Ryhor Azaronak during an investigative experiment. Sasnouski also told the court that after his arrest near Azaronak's house, he was "abused by violence and torture and forced to write a heartfelt confession". At the first hearing, when asked about his identity, he stated that he wanted to renounce his Belarusian citizenship because he "has nothing to do with terrorism".

On March 10, 2023, Dzmitryi Sasnouski was included in the 'List of Belarusian citizens, foreign citizens, and stateless persons involved in extremist activities".

Mail address: Penal colony No. 1. 211440, Navapolack, vulica Techničnaya 8

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