Week 13: March 15-21

March 21st, 2011   Theme: Belarus

The Ministry of Interior Affairs in Minsk presents accusations against two former oppositional candidates Dzmitry Us and Mikalaj Statkievic.

March 15

Two more concerts are cancelled. This time two famous musicians, Lavon Volski and the band “Krambambula” can’t play as they planned in Minsk. Both of them are on the black list of the Belarusian authorities.
KGB officers visit Alena Michalevic, sister of Ales Michalevic, oppositional candidate. They inform her about an interrogation she has to attend on March 16. The officers try to press her by joking about torture and interrogation. In the end they beg her to do all possible to make her brother come back to Belarus.
Siarhiej Balykin, chairman of the Association of Small and Medium Business, receive back his equipment and phones from the KGB, that were confiscated during a house search in November 2010. All the equipment is broken.
The KGB calls former oppositional candidate in the presidential elections Dzmitry Us to come to the KGB where his passport is taken and the measure for detention is changed to: recognizance not to leave.
Yet another assault at the office of the Belarusian Popular Front Party in Minsk. Unknown individuals damage the entrance and write on the outside walls. It should be noticed that the office is next-door to the Academy of Ministry of Interior Affairs which means that there is a strict control of the district from any kind of criminal activities.
Dzmitry Daronin is arrested in Minsk in accordance with the criminal case of “mass riots”. He is not politically active and is not kept in custody in Minsk. His whereabouts are not known.

March 16

 

The Day of Solidarity

The Day of Solidarity started after policemen violently suppressed a peaceful protest on September 16, 2005 in memory of oppositional politicians that disappeared at the end of 1990s and beginning of 2000s. The dipappeared are: Viktar Hanchar, vice-speaker of the Parliament; Anatol Krasouski, businessman and public leader; Yury Zakharanka, former minister of Interior Affairs; Zmitser Zavadzki, cameraman of the Russia Television ORT.
At the protest policemen seized portraits of the disappeared politicians and national flags. At that moment one of protesters raised his jeans shirt as a symbol of resistance to dictatorship. Since that time, actions of solidarity are held on the 16th day of every month in support of political prisoners in Belarus, as well as the disappeared individuals. Candles are lit in windows, street actions of solidarity are held and people tie jeans and white-red-white ribbons on their clothes. Prayer services are held for political prisoners and families of the disappeared.

The KGB carries out searches of homes of democratic activists in the town of Recyca. Several KGB officers come to the house of human rights defender Valery Pucicki and smash down the door to get inside. Though, Valery Pucicki isd not at home. The KGB confiscates some material that belong to human rights defender, e.g. printer, laptop, etc. Nearby the town of Recyca, the KGB searches the house of an activist from the PBF Party, Aleh Karbalevic. The search goes on for two hours and the KGB confiscates some of equipment and literature. Later in the day, also in the town of Recyca, the KGB searches the house of enterpreneur Sviatlana Piatrouskaja who was active in Uladzimir Niaklajeu’s election team during the presidential elections campaign.
Siarhiej Balaj, journalist of Salidarnasc newspaper, is detained by the Police in the town of Astraviec. He has interviewed locals regarding the government’s plans to build a nuclear power plant. He is taken to the Police station and questioned. Later he is freed with a condition to leave the town of Astraviec.
Nasta Palazanka, activist from the organisation Malady Front (Young Front) one of the accused in the criminal case of “mass riots”, is questioned by the KGB. The reason for this, according to Nasta Palazanka, is the action of solidarity with political prisoners every month on 16th.

March 17

Andrej Pratasienia, 29 year-old programmer, is suddenly “found” at the KGB jail after one and half month. According to his family, no one knew where he was. It was known that he participated in the peaceful demonstration on December 19, 2010. On January 9, he was arrested by the KGB – after interrogation and search at his parents’ house. He is not politically active and doesn’t not belong to any political party. Though, as many ordinary Belarusians he came to the Square on December 19, to protest against the elections falsifications. Now he is being accused of active participation in “mass riots” on December 19, 2010.
Barys Chamajda stands once again before the Court of Cyhunacny district of the town of Viciebsk. He is being accused of organizing an unauthorised picket when he actually only stood on the street with the national white-red-white flag distributing independent newspapers, on January 3, 2011. He was arrested and the Police initiated an administrative case against him. However, the court dismissed the case without finding anything unlawful. Despite of this decision on March 2, the same case is re-opened and another judge abolishe the previous judgement. Though, a few days later Barys Chamajda got a fine of 1.050.000 Belarusian roubles (about 260 €). Today he is once again fined the same amount of money – 1.050.000 Belarusian roubles (about 260 €). A fourth trial is planned for later.
The court in the town of Hrodna fines two students from a local university. Kaciaryna Hierasimcyk and Volha Bahdankievic were detained on January 12, carrying leaflets about the political prisoners. In addition they are being accused of making a graffiti „Luku na muku” (Tear Luka to pieces). They both received a notification about the trial. One hour before they planned to leave for the trial a Police officer comes to their home and forces them to follow him. Finally each of girls are fined 310.000 Belarusian roubles (about 75 €).

March 18

Kryscina Sacikava, activist in the town of Mahilou, is questioned by the local KGB because of her photos from the peaceful demonstration on December 19. It’s worth noting that it’s already the third interrogation of Kryscina Sacikava due to the photos she took at the Square.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs in Minsk presents accusations against two former oppositional candidates Dzmitry Us and Mikalaj Statkievic – both are being accused of organisation of “mass riots” on December 19, in accordance with the article 293 §1 of the Criminal Code. Earlier Mikalaj Statkievic was accused according to the same article but §2, I.e. active participation. Now the Prosecutor Office has changed it to §1 which means organisation of “mass riots” and therefore a stricter punishment. A former Police officer is charged not only for organisation of and active participation in “mass riots”, article 293 § 1 and 2, but also for disrespect of a representative of the authorities and illegal conferment of an official rank (article 382 of Criminal Code).

March 19

Michas Vasiljeu, entrepreneur in the town of Barysau and democratic activist, is bereaved of the possibility to legally run his business as the authorities cancel rental contracts, This makes the business unauthorised. Michas Vasiljeu is since 12 years in business together with his wife. Lately he has been politically active in the campaign team of Uladzimir Niaklajeu. At the beginning of January the authorities warned him about possible problems in the future. Just before the elections, the wife of Michas Vasiljeu gave birth.
Jauhien Parcynski, initiator of a local campaign Free region in the town of Polack, is questioned by the local KGB regarding his political activities.
The court in the town of Hrodna begins a new trial against Kaciaryna Hierasimcyk, a student, who was recently been fined for carrying anti-governmental leaflets (see March 17). The reason for the new trial is that Kaciaryna Hierasimcyk is being accused of making graffiti on a Lenin monument. The trial is being postponed for a few days.

March 20

Zmicier Salaujou, chairman of the local branch of the BPF Party of Mahilou region, is questioned by the KGB about the criminal case of “mass riots”. He was forced by the KGB to sign a paper of non-disclosure of the information from the interrogation which is why he doesn’t tell anything about it.
The local authorities in the towns of Salihorsk and Zodzina refuse to give the permission to organization of a peaceful demonstration on March 25 (one of the most significant historic dates in Belarus – the Freedom Day).The same do most of the local authorities around the country.

March 21

Three arrested political activists, who have been in custody in accordance with the criminal case of “mass riots”, stand before the Court. They are: Zmicier Daskievic, leader of the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front), Eduard Lobau, activist of the same organisation and Mikita Lichavid, activist of the movement For Freedom.
Zmicier Daskievic and Eduard Lobau are being accused of violent hooliganism; the prosecutor states that they were beating strangers in the street. In accordance with the law they risk three to ten years of imprisonment.
20 year-old Mikita Lichavid is being accused of “mass riots”, to have caused damage of the House of Parliament in Minsk and armed resistance against 29 officers of the Special Police.
At the same time during the trial of Zmicier Daskievic and Eduard Lobau, people gather outside the Court house since they were not allowed to attend the trial and the room where the trial is taking place. An unknown number of people get arrested by the Police after briefly holding up a poster in support of the two activist from the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front).
Natalia Iljinic, history teacher in the village of Talka, who was expelled (after 20 years of excellent work) for her political position, goes to Court for the second time to appeal the decision of the Court to approve the discharge. After the presidential election the school administration told her that she had to chose between the opposition and her work as a teacher.

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