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Belarusian blogger convicted for reacting to a Lukashenka caricature with a "haha" emoji dies in prison

08.05.2023, 11:55
Photo: Mikalai Klimovich on Facebook / Slovo i Dilo
Photo: Mikalai Klimovich on Facebook / Slovo i Dilo

Mikalai Klimovich, 61, a political prisoner and blogger who was sentenced to a year behid bars for reacting to a caricature of the self-proclaimed President Aliaksandr Lukashenka on Odnoklassniki, died in a Belarusian colony. The news came on May 7, the human rights center "Viasna" reported.

Mikalai Klimovich had a category II disability due to a cardiovascular system condition, he had previously suffered a stroke and undergone a complex heart surgery.

Despite this, the Pinsk court sentenced him to prison on February 28. He was accused of insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka under Art. 368 of the Criminal Code for posting a satirical cartoon on social media. The blogger reacted to the post with a "haha" emoji, which is how the caricature appeared in his Odnoklassniki feed.

Mikalai has stressed his anti-war stance and that his social media posts relate to it.

Before the verdict, the blogger said that he could die behind bars, because he needs to take a large amount of powerful narcotics. "Any term in prison means death for me, because I have to be under the constant supervision of a doctor, take many powerful drugs. I may not last a month," said Klimovich before the verdict.

The man was detained in the courtroom, as he had been at large before the verdict was passed. Mikolai was placed in the Baranovichi pre-trial detention center No. 6, where he was held pending appeal. On April 21, the Brest Regional Court upheld the sentence. Soon Klimovich was transferred to Vitebsk colony No. 3, moving across the entire Belarus. The man sustained a little over two months of imprisonment. He stayed in the colony for about two weeks.

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