The Court of Minsk sentenced Yegor Dudnikov, a Russian national, to eleven years in prison, Sputnik Belarus reports.
According to Belarusian investigators, Dudnikov administered Civil Self-Defense Units of Belarus Telegram channel. The Belarusian authorities consider this Telegram channel to be a terrorist outlet. According to investigators, the Russian national was making audio recordings criticizing the Belarusian authorities.
Dudnikov was arrested in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in early May. Initially, the 21-year-old man was charged under Part 1 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (organization of actions that grossly violate public order), which is punishable with a prison term of up to three years. However, the charges later were re-qualified as more serious.
Dudnikov's mother said that he had moved to Minsk because of his girlfriend. In Belarus, he was doing voice overs of cartoons, video games and commercials.
“I didn’t think that a microphone could be a reason for detention,” Yegor Dudnikov’s mother said.
In July, 2.5 months after the arrest, ONT state-run TV channel said that Dudnikov had turned himself in. A video published by the channel showed Dudnikov saying that he was cooperating with the investigation.
The Investigative Committee of Belarus allowed the Russian consul to visit Yegor Dudnikov, the press service of the Russian Embassy in Belarus said.
Afterwards, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will have to decide whether to go and sign the act of surrender, the intelligence officer concluded.