Belarusian "Spring Fever" continues
Authorities and police agencies continue persecution of Belarusian civil society with detentions, trials and police search raids.
Monday, 03 April 2017, by Belarusian HRH based on spring96.org, baj.by
Human rights defenders:
On 26 March Tatsiana Reviaka, the president of the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, was detained along with the protesters in the centre of Minsk. She was eventually released without charges. On 1 April Tatsiana Reviaka reported, that she received a subpoena and has to attend a court trial on 10 April. The president of the Belarusian HRH is being charged with petty hooliganism and disobeying police officers' orders.
On 31 March two offices, in which journalists associated with the TV channel "Belsat" worked, were searched by police and equipment was seized. Minsk police explained these actions with protection of a trademark rights at the request of the copyright holder. Cameraman of "Belsat" Aliaksandr Liubianchuk (pictured) was detained during the search raid. Journalist was kept in the police station for more than five hours; police officers drew up a protocol for swearing. Protocol says that Aliaksandr was using obscene vocabulary right at the police station (petty hooliganism, Article 17.1 of the Administrative Code). He was going to be transported to Akrestina Prison, but at 19:00 Aliaksandr was unexpectedly released from the police station. The journalist was not informed, when his trial is going to happen.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists issued a statement about the mass persecution of journalists. The statement says that in March of this year 123 cases of violations of journalists' rights relating to the performance of their professional activities were recorded.
Among them: detentions - 94; journalists being beaten by the police - 6; equipment damage - 3; cases when after the search raid there was an equipment confiscation - 2; facts of administrative prosecution - 40.
In 10 cases journalists were sentenced with arrest for up to 15 days, in 4 cases with fines up to 40 basic units (equivalent to 460 euros). More than 10 cases are still awaiting their consideration.
On 28 March 2017 it became known that activist Viachaslau Kasinerau, who was under a 15-day administrative arrest for participation in the demonstration on 17 February in Minsk, was charged with hooliganism. The accused was taken into custody and transferred to the Interior Ministry detention centre in Minsk.
The basis for the criminal prosecution of V. Kasinerau was him making an action-performance on 12 March near the Interior Ministry building in Minsk. During the performance V. Kasinerau threw the noose on statue of a city policeman from the times of the Russian Empire, which was installed at the Ministry of Interior building during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian police in February this year. In such a way the activist decided to express his public protest against police brutality and harassment of anarchist activists for participating in peaceful protests.
The "preparation of mass riots" case:
As for the beginning of April, there are still 21 people remaining in the list of detainees in the case of the preparation of "mass riots". It is known that 10 of them have already been charged according to the part 3, Article 293 of the Criminal Code of Belarus.
Part 3 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code, "Mass Riots":
Training or other preparation of persons for participation in mass riots accompanied by committing actions specified in part one of this article, as well as funding or other material support of such activities
- shall be punished by imprisonment for up to six months or imprisonment for up to three years.
On the last day of March in Minsk activists of various social movements and relatives of the detained persons in case "about the preparation of mass riots" announced that they will come to the KGB building in Minsk on picket of solidarity. Long before the start of the intended action in front of the KGB building, streets were blocked and there was a bus with riot policemen. As a result, 5 people were detained.
Belarusian HRH based on spring96.org, baj.by