vlogger, sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison
Date of birth: 20 May 1984
Date of detention: 9 September 2020
Art. 130 of the Criminal Code - Incitement to hatred
Sentence: 4 1/2 years
Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony
Judge: Dzina Kuchuk
Prosecutor: Anton Tsiumentsau
Prison: Penal colony No. 2
Pavel Spiryn is a political blogger running a video channel on YouTube.
Pavel Spiryn was detained on September 4, 2020, released three days later, then detained again on September 9 after his new video was released online. In the 2020 presidential election, the blogger announced his intention to run for President, but the Central Election Commission denied registration to his nomination group. At the same time, Pavel Spiryn made harsh remarks against Aliaksandr Lukashenka in his speech at a CEC meeting, which was broadcast live, which could be one of the reasons for his persecution. He eventually became a proxy for presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. In 2019, one of his films called “Gran’” (“Edge”) was blacklisted by the authorities as “extremist content,” but the vlogger only faced charges related to the video after his active participation in the 2020 election campaign.
Spiryn was charged under Part 1 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code, “Intentional acts aimed at inciting racial, national, religious or other social hatred or hostility on the grounds of racial, national, religious, linguistic or other social affiliation.” The social group in question, according to the prosecution, is “another group of persons united by professional affiliation,” namely prosecutors, judges, members of Parliament, senior officials of the Republic of Belarus, police officers, riot police officers and even the Minister of Internal Affairs.
The charge stems from two videos, which he posted on his YouTube channel: "Gran'" ("Edge"), a documentary blacklisted by the authorities as “extremist content", and a video titled "A Terrible Secret of the Prosecutor General of Belarus: License for Sadism".
On February 5, Judge Dzina Kuchuk of the Minsk City Court sentenced Pavel Spiryn to 4.5 years in a general-security penal colony under Article 130 of the Criminal Code.