Dzmitry Klimau (left to right), Uladzimer Auramtsau, Yauhen Minkevich (combo photo)
MINSK -- Three more Belarusian activists who were arrested for allegedly damaging railways in the country to disrupt the supply of Russian arms and troops to Ukraine have gone on trial in the eastern city of Mahilyou.
The trial of Dzmitry Klimau, Uladzimer Auramtsau, and Yauhen Minkevich started on January 23, the Minsk-based Vyasna human rights center said .
The activists are charged with high treason, conducting terrorist acts, and participating in terrorist activities. If convicted, they face lengthy prison terms.
Judge Ihar Shvedau is holding the trial behind closed doors.
"Since the trial is being held behind closed doors, the details of the case are not known," Vyasna said, noting the accused have already been detained for 10 months.
The three activists were among some 60 people arrested for their alleged involvement in damaging Belarusian railways to impede the progress of Russian troops and arms to Ukraine as part of Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022.
The campaign, called the "railways war," was initiated in Belarus by a group called BYPOL. Those involved in the campaign have been nicknamed "railway guerrillas."
Several "railway guerrillas" have already been handed lengthy prison terms. Earlier this month, a court in Minsk sentenced 40-year-old Vital Melnik to 13 years in a maximum-security prison after finding him guilty of terrorism, possessing illegal firearms, premeditated damage to state property, and publicly insulting the country's authoritarian ruler, Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Belarus is not a direct participant in the war in Ukraine, but it has provided logistical support to Russia for the invasion by allowing Russian forces to enter Ukraine via Belarusian territory.
Western governments have slapped Belarus, like Russia, with an ever-increasing list of financial sanctions in response to the Kremlin's war on Ukraine, and for Belarus's efforts to aid the Russian invasion.