"Railway partisan" sabotages Putin's troops and has to go to prison for 16 years - "insult to Lukashenko"
Created: 12/23/2022, 5:24 p.m
By: Kathrin Reikowski
Alexander Lukashenko, ruler in Belarus - a railway worker was sentenced to 16 years in prison for "insulting Lukashenko" and "terrorism".
© Nikolai Petrov/BelTA-Pool/AP/dpa
Svetlana Tichanovskaya, Belarusian opposition leader, is critical: Vital Melnik has been arrested for "terrorism" and "insulting Lukashenko".
Minsk (Belarus) - Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has stood by Vladimir Putin.
While he has ruled out that Belarusian troops will fight alongside Russia in Ukraine, only recently did Putin and Lukashenko agree on closer economic and military cooperation.
And only in December did joint military exercises take place.
Belarus: Russian troops during exercises in an unspecified region of Belarus, December 2022. © AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
There is resistance in Belarus to Putin's and Lukashenko's plans - even if there are long prison sentences for resistance.
The focus is now on a man accused of sabotaging railway lines in Belarus that Russian troops used to send troops into Ukraine in the spring.
"The criminal case against the 'railway partisan' Vital Melnik ended yesterday with a sentence of 16 years in prison," wrote Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya on Twitter.
She lives in exile and sharply criticized the prison sentence.
Ukraine War: Arrests in Belarus after opposition to Putin and Lukashenko's plans
In April, the Belarusian Interior Ministry reported the arrests of three men south-east of Minsk suspected of sabotaging railway equipment such as signal boxes in the center of the country.
The ministry released video footage of bloodied men lying on the ground.
According to the ministry, the police shot at them because they resisted arrest.
A fourth man accused of similar offenses was arrested northeast of Minsk and "seriously injured," according to the ministry.
"Resistance to the war continues in Belarus, despite the risk of severe penalties," Tikhanovskaya said.
According to them, Melnik was shot in the knee when he was arrested in April.
Resistance against Putin in Belarus: railway workers founded a partisan group
The human rights organization Vyazna had previously stated that a court in the Belarusian capital Minsk had sentenced Melnik to 16 years in prison at a closed-door hearing.
Accordingly, Melnik was found guilty of various charges, including "terrorism" and insulting the head of state Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarusian state media reported in March that a channel on the online service Telegram had published instructions on how to destroy train infrastructure.
The channel called “Live.
Union of Railway Workers of Belarus” was declared extremist.
The channel describes the arrested men as partisans and condemns Belarusian railway workers involved in transporting Russian military equipment and weapons for the Ukraine war.