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11 Aug, 2021 15:07

Extradited Russian MMA fighter ‘wants to represent Belarus’ after being imprisoned there for 2-and-a-half years for harming police

Extradited Russian MMA fighter ‘wants to represent Belarus’ after being imprisoned there for 2-and-a-half years for harming police

A former kickboxing champ told a court he wants to represent Belarus after being sentenced to a colony for causing bodily harm to police officers following a protest – and his wife in Russia says she will fight for his freedom.

Aleksey Kudin was in Molodechno's Central Square when an unauthorized rally protesting Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's re-election was being held in August last year.

The fighter was subsequently detained for allegedly attacking officers and later ordered to await trial on house arrest.

Media reports claim that he then failed to show in court, and Kudin was extradited from Moscow to Belarus by Russia on July 22nd this year so that he could be prosecuted.

In a video from a pre-detention center, which was later shown on state television, he asked Lukashenko for a pardon while requesting his case not to be politicized.

Stating he was ready to be punished for the alleged offenses he committed during the protests, he pleaded for his name and sporting achievements not to be put "to their advantage... since I want peace to reign in my country again... and I do not want my country to be destroyed."

Kudin received a sentence of two-and-a-half years to be served in a general regime penal colony, as confirmed by his lawyer Marina Krumkach to Sputnik.

Adding that she is not sure whether her client will appeal, Krumkach clarified that Kudin had pleaded guilty to causing bodily harm to two police officers but that it was done unintentionally, while he has publicly asked them for forgiveness and attempted to make amends through monetary compensation.

With the time he spent under house arrest and then in pre-trial detention centers in Moscow and Belarus considered, Kudin received only half of the maximum sentence, and in his final words in court, while asking for forgiveness, is said to have stated that he "wants to act under the state flag of the Republic of Belarus and be useful to the country."

Kudin's wife, Tatyana Parkhimovich, has told of her plight in fighting for her spouse's freedom and raising their four young children alone.

"I’m not allowed to see him," Parkhimovich told Tribuna. "I wrote applications with requests for a meeting and met the chairman of the Molodechno court during his office hours for a personal meeting.

"I was denied a date. It is pointless to write letters. Alexey was at first in [Minsk detention center] SIZO-1, a few days later he was transferred to an isolation ward in Zhodino, and [then] he was transferred to Molodechno," she explained.

"So perhaps I will write him a letter, but it simply will not reach the addressee. Every day I look forward to the good, but it is better to prepare for the worst. Although I have a bottle of champagne in the fridge.

"We thought he would be in Moscow and I could bring my children there so they would see my dad. But after his extradition, I am very busy and the children are mainly with their grandmothers. I need to direct all my efforts to one thing – to be present at meetings and work with a lawyer."

She claimed that there had been a "complete reconciliation of the parties" involved in the alleged incident because two victims had been paid for "moral damage".

Sports professionals in Belarus have faced sanctions, jail sentences and loss of employment for participating in protests against the ruling government.

The high-profile current case of Kristina Timanovskaya, the athlete who was granted a Polish humanitarian visa after being ordered home by the country's Olympic committee, has further intensified scrutiny on Belarus.

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