Dobrush District Court in Belarus sentenced rapper Nokrolik (real name Yevgeny Petrov) to one-year imprisonment for allegedly insulting the President of Belarus in the song “Lukashenko, go away”, reported Reformation.
Petrov has been sentenced under Article 368 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus for a question he formed in the song on whether President Lukashenko is “a person with low intelligence”.
According to Belsat, during the trial, linguistic experts concluded that lyrics included an insult. Petrov pleaded not guilty and explained that he did not insult Lukashenko and only “questioned his mental abilities.”
After the verdict, the artist was taken to the Homel SIZO-3 prison.
Petrov is 22 years old Russian citizen, arrested on 3 June 2021. After serving his sentence in Belarusian prison, the artist will be deported from Belarus.
Prior to Petrov’s conviction, on 23 August 2021, Gomel District Court sentenced Sergei Balakhonov to similar punishment of one-year imprisonment for insulting the President of Belarus when posting the song “Lukashenko, go away” on VKontakte platform. Balakhonov was also sentenced under Article 368 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.
The State of Artistic Freedom 2021 report highlights dozens of artists arrested in Belarus for their participation in protests over disputed presidential elections testified about their humiliating treatment and beatings while in prisons.