Family tragedy: how watching hockey turned into a prison term for cannabis use

Ignat (name changed) met with his acquaintance, and soon contact with him was lost.

Family tragedy: how watching hockey turned into a prison term for cannabis use
Legalize Belarus
24 January 2024
Stories of the convicted

«Some time later, our parents received a call informing them that he was detained under аrticle 328, рart 1. Late in the evening of that day, law enforcement officers came to their apartment and conducted a search, because my brother lived there. They found 124 grams of undried cannabis, packaged in 4 newspaper wraps. As a result, the charges were brought under part 2 of article 328,» says Ignat’s sister, Anastasia (name changed).

«Later, Ignat explained that he and his friend were just sitting in the car, watching hockey, and they smoked 1 joint. It was a deserted place on the outskirts of the city. Then riot police officers approached and arrested him. The cannabis belonged to my brother. But most likely, his friend set him up, possibly because he had some problems,» the girl explains.

«The court sentenced Ignat to 5 years of imprisonment with strict regime colony. We were shocked. No one expected this, of course. He had done nothing wrong to anyone, led a normal life, worked, well, smoked cannabis occasionally,» Anastasia shares.

«Because of this situation, we communicated a lot with the relatives of people convicted under article 328. We were impressed by the number of criminal cases and huge sentences for almost nothing, and in general the attitude towards people,» she adds.

But Anastasia says that Ignat ended up serving 2 years in prison, «Initially, his sentence was reduced because they reviewed the penalties in the сriminal law, and then he fell under amnesty. Still, it’s too much, and it affects a person. People there live by their own special rules. There was violence from the correctional facility staff as well, but there were also normal people among them.»

Several years have passed since Ignat’s release. Anastasia says that he no longer uses cannabis.

The material was created based on anonymous monitoring.

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