Men who allegedly blew up railway lines to slow down Russia face death in Belarus

Three men who allegedly tried to slow down Russia’s military advance through Belarus at the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine face the death penalty for high treason.

The three men, who have come to be known as the “rail partisans”, have not been named, but are believed to be 29, 33 and 51 years old. They have been labeled “terrorists” and “traitors” by Belarusian prosecutors.

They are accused of high treason by the Belarus regime – often referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe – for allegedly damaging a railway line to prevent Russian weapons and equipment from going through Belarus to Ukraine.

They are currently charged with treason and terrorism by the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994 and is a close ally of Vladimir Putin, even allowing Russia to use Belarus as a staging area in part. of the Russian armed forces at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, when Russian troops tried – unsuccessfully – to take the capital Kiev.

At the end of May 2022, Lukashenko signed a law so that any attempt to commit “an act of terrorism” could be “punishable by death”.

The Commission of Inquiry of the Republic of Belarus said in a statement on Wednesday, June 29: “The investigation into the criminal case against the men who carried out the terrorist act on the track has been completed.

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One of three railway supporters who tried to stop the traffic of Russian equipment in Belarus now faces the death penalty for “damaging Belarus’ national security”. The three men, who have come to be known as the “rail partisans”, have not been named, but are believed to be 29, 33 and 51 years old.
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“The Chief Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption Crimes has concluded the investigation into the criminal case against traitors to the mother country.

According to the investigation, in February of this year, a 29-year-old resident of Svetlogorsk joined on his own initiative the extremist formations ‘BYPOL’ / ‘mobilization plan’ ‘Peramoga’, whose leaders gave him the task of making the railway infrastructure in the Homel region.

“Criminal community administrators have sent the man detailed instructions on how to make tools and commit crimes, as well as recommendations on conspiracy measures.

“The man was not surprised and offered his friends to join the criminal community. Two men (a 33-year-old and a 51-year-old) accepted the dubious offer. To motivate them to commit a crime, representatives of extremist groups paid them all expenses for the preparation, and also transferred money “for the work done” into an electronic wallet. In total, the defendants were awarded just over BYN 1,000 ($290).

“After discussing the plan, the group of terrorists assigned roles among themselves, discussed conspiracy options and escape routes. At the agreed time, at night from February 28 to March 1, the attackers, according to the order received, set fire to a relay cabinet containing equipment, a signaling device that ensures safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles, raising the risk of catastrophic consequences, including train collapse and passenger deaths.

“During the investigation of the criminal case, it was determined that all of this was a planned crime down to the smallest detail and that each suspect was responsible for his own ‘task’.

“The men did their ‘business’ in the car of a 51-year-old member of a criminal group. In order not to be noticed, the foreign car was left in the nearest village. The driver also stayed there for insurance purposes.

“The young people went to the arson site on foot. After carrying out the criminal plan, they returned to the accomplice. Then the extremists fled and tried to take every possible measure to hide the traces of the crime.

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One of three railway supporters who tried to stop the traffic of Russian equipment in Belarus now faces the death penalty for “damaging Belarus’ national security”. The three men are said to have damaged a railway to prevent Russian weapons and equipment from going to Ukraine via Belarus.
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“The investigation has found that the criminal actions of the defendants, including those to assist a foreign organization in causing damage to the national security of the Republic of Belarus, are treason against the motherland – treason against the state.

“Thanks to the well-coordinated and efficient work of law enforcement officers, members of the criminal group were identified and detained. When conducting investigative actions with the cooperation of the accused, the investigators were able to reconstruct the picture of what was happening every minute of the road, as well as the finding discarded evidence.

Fortunately, the disaster and human casualties caused by the terrorist attack on the railway were avoided, but the damages caused by the criminal actions of the suspects amounted to approximately BYN 55,000 ($16,160).

“At the moment, members of the criminal group are seizing every opportunity to compensate for the damage and to cooperate with the investigation.

“As part of the case, about 20 expert studies were conducted, the conclusions of which confirm the involvement of men in committing crimes, the accused and witnesses were questioned and testimonies were checked on the spot.

“As a result of the investigation, the men were charged under a number of articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus:

Part 3 Art. 361-1 (participation in an extremist formation);Part 3 Art. 289 (an act of terrorism committed as part of an organized group, with serious consequences, creating a death threat to people and inflicting physical injury on them);hh 2.4 art. 309 (deliberately rendering the means of communication unusable, which entailed serious consequences, and also caused a threat of collapse, accident and death of people); Part 1 Art. 356 (treason against the state).

Image showing visible damage to Belarusian railway lines. One of three railway supporters who tried to stop the traffic of Russian equipment in Belarus now faces the death penalty for “damaging Belarus’ national security”.

“A measure of restraint in the form of detention was applied to them. The properties of the defendants were seized for a total amount of more than 57 thousand rubles ($16,750).

“Men who commit these acts face the maximum penalty, up to and including the death penalty.

“The investigation of the criminal case has been completed, the materials have been handed over to the prosecutor for transmission to the court.”

Under Belarusian law, these charges carry the maximum death penalty.

According to unconfirmed reports, at least 11 people have been charged with an “terrorist act” related to sabotage on the track, according to the Belarusian human rights center Viasna in mid-June.

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One of three railway supporters who tried to stop the traffic of Russian equipment in Belarus now faces the death penalty for “damaging Belarus’ national security”. In late May 2022, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a law so that any attempt to commit “an act of terrorism” may be “punishable by death”.
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Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation.” June 30 marks the 126th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 29, Russia had lost about 35,450 men, 1,572 tanks, 3,720 armored fighting vehicles, 781 artillery units, 246 multiple missile systems, 103 air defense systems, 217 combat aircraft. , 185 helicopters, 640 drones, 142 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,598 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 61 units with special equipment.

Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership after initially resisting the countries’ requests to join the military alliance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the NATO summit in Madrid.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General, said: “I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.”

US President Joe Biden congratulated the three countries, saying: “Congratulations Finland, Sweden and Turkey on signing a trilateral memorandum – a crucial step towards a NATO invitation to Finland and Sweden, which will strengthen our Alliance and strengthen our collective security – and a great way to start the Summit.”

The Russian bombing of a shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk has been described by President Zelenskyy as one of the “most brutal terrorist acts in European history”. More than 1,000 people are said to have been in the building when it was hit by missiles.

The toll has risen to 18 confirmed deaths, another 59 injured and 25 being treated in hospital. 36 people are still missing.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the United Nations to visit the site and has demanded that Russia be deported as a permanent member of the UN Security Council over accusing the country of becoming a “terrorist state”.

Russia claimed on Tuesday it hit a nearby weapons depot, with the explosion setting the mall on fire.

NATO plans to increase its rapid response forces from 40,000 troops to more than 300,000 troops.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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