Week 14, March 22-28

March 28th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

On Freedom Day on March 25, a national holiday that is forbidden by the regime, dozens of well-known political, civil activists and human rights defenders, as well as a number of journalists, are detained across the country.

March 22

The local authorities in the town of Mahilou officially prohibit all oppositional activities, such as manifestations, pickets or actions of solidarity. The same does most of the local authorities around the country.
Sarstou Alaksiej, a student from Minsk, is a new suspecte in the criminal case of “mass riots” . He gets arrested together with a few friends and is transferred to the well-known prison on Valadarskaja Street in Minsk.
Four democratic activists in the town of Babrujsk, Taisija Kabancuk, Volha Pimava, Halina Smirnova and Maksim Ryskievic, are detained for spreading leaflets with information about the history of the ‘Freedom Day’on March 25. They are released after four hours.

March 23, 2011

Ivan Syla and Ryhor Astapienia, activists from Malady Front (Young Front), are sentenced to detention after getting arrested during the trial of Zmicier Daskievic. They were arrested while waiting outside the Court, holding a poster of Zmicier Daskievic saying “Hands off the Young Front”. They were charged by the Maskouski Court in the city of Minsk for participating in an unauthorised event. Ivan Syla is sentenced to 13 days imprisonment and Ryhor Astapienia to 10 days. The activists spent the night before trial in jail.
The KGB questions Krystafor Zalapau, local activist and coordinator of the For Freedom movement in the town of Viciebsk, as a witness in the criminal case of “mass riots” in Minsk. Despite the interrogation, he was later that day re-summoned for another round of questioning, this time as an organiser of a demonstration on the Freedom Day on March 25. The authorities did not allow the demonstration and the Police warned Krystafor Zalapau that in case of any active participation or organisation, he would be charged in accordance with the Administrative Code.
Ales Michalevic, former oppositional presidential candidate who fled Belarus secretly after being tortured in the KGB jail, receives has his asylum application confirmed by Czech authorities meaning that he has now a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic.
Ales Halavan, democratic activist in the town of Viciebsk and chairman of the local branch of Young Belarus is arrested by the local Police.

March 24

Two more arrested democratic activists according to the criminal case of the “mass riots” are sentenced to several years’ in prison. Zmicier Daskievic, leader of Malady Front (Young Front), and Eduard Lobau, chairman of the local branch in Minsk, were accused of assaulting and harshly beating two strangers on the street, on the day before the presidential elections on December 19, 2010.
The judge of Maskouski District Court of the city of Minsk finds Zmicier Daskievic and Eduar Lobau guilty of malicious hooliganism. Zmicier Daskievic is sentenced to two years imprisonment and Eduard Lobau to four years in a high security prison.
Ales Asipcou, independent journalist from the town of Mahilou, is arrested and sentenced to three days in prison. The Police charge him in accordance with the paragraph 17.1 and accuse him of ‘peeing’ in public.
Aleksandr Lomashkin, Russian journalist and editor of the independent news agency Freedom from the town of Samara, is sentenced to three days in prison. He was arrested on a train from Russia and charged with hooliganism. Aleksandr Lomashkin said in court that he will go on a hunger strike.
Siarhiej Kavalenka, famous democratic activist in the town of Viciebsk, is detained when walking through the town centre carrying two white-red flags.
Andrus Cianiuta, democratic activist from Malady Front (Young Front) political drafter, is summoned to the local Military Counter Intelligence of the Viciebsk region the day before the Freedom Day on March 25. Andrus Cianiuta receives an official warning that any kind of activity anti-constitutional activity on behalf of an unauthorised organisation such as Young Front is inadmissible.
Andrej Paczobut, independent Belarusian journalist and Belarusian correspondent for one of Poland’s largest newspapers Gazeta Wyborcza is no longer allowed to leave Belarus. He was recently stopped at the Belarusian-Polish border on the way to Warsaw to participate in a conference “How to democratise Belarus?”

March 25

On Freedom Day on March 25, a national holiday that is forbidden by the regime, dozens of well-known political, civil activists and human rights defenders, as well as a number of journalists, are detained across the country. Several others have been warned of possible prosecution in case of participating in any kind of celebrations.

6.30 – The Police arrived to the flat of Siarhej Pauliukevich’s, one of the demonstrators from December 19. Siarhej Pauliukevich managed to send an sms to a friend saying – “The police arrived. They are taking me with them. They say they have some questions”.
A few Police officers tries to enter the flat of Vincuk Viacorka, well-known Belarusian politician. They Police wanted to meet his son, democratic activist Franak Viacorka, who wasn’t there at that time. When the 13 year-old sister of Franak Viachorka, Ruzhana Viachorka, leaves the flat for school, the Police detain her and start questioning her about the brother. They do not release her until the girl gets very scared and starts crying.

7.00 – Alaksandr Kudlajeu, activist from the organisation of European Belarus is detained at his own home by the Police and brought to the Police Department of Zavodzki district of the city of Minsk. The Police said he’ll be there till 20.00.

7.20 – The Police searches for Paval Juchnievic, from European Belarus, in his parents flat. Paval Juchnievic himself is not there at the time.

8.00 – A few Policemen try to violently enter the flat of Hanna Saruba, democratic activist from the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front), without a warrant. When she refuses to open the door, the Police stay at the entrance to watch the activist.
Alaksandr Sciepanienka, young activist from the UCP Party is detained and transmitted to the Police station of the Soviet district of the city of Minsk for ”a conversation” with the Police.
Officers from the criminal prosecution try to enter the flat of democratic activist Aleh Laducka. His mother who is alone at home refuses to open the door.

9.20 – Leanid Autuchou, activist from the organisation of Tell the Truth cannot leave his home since the entrance is blocked by Police officers who have been watching him since yesterday. Leanid Autuchou is later informed that a KGB officer will visit him in his home. At the same time, the Police detains Tacciana Sieviaryniec, whose son is the imprisoned leader of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Pavel Sieviaryniec. She was detained at a bus stop heading to the city centre to lay the flowers together with others.
10.40 – The Akrescina jail prepares to receive arrested political activists. According to the observation of civil activists, the jail administration has released several “non-political” prisoners to get more space.

10.45 – The car of Viktar Buzinau, chairman of the local branch of the UCP Party in the town of Babrujsk, is damaged by unknown people. Having planned to go to Minsk to celebrate Freedom day, Viktar Buzinau is prevented by four pierced tyres.

10.55 – The Police arrives at the home of well-known democratic activist Tacciana Sapucka. The Police said they need to meet Tacciana Sapucka in accordance with a criminal case but refused to mention which one. At that moment, Tacciana is not home.

11.30 – The local Police officers in Vilejka visits democratic activist Ivan Kruk from the UCP Party. As he is not at home the Police interrogate his wife on her husband’s whereabouts. The Police then visit the neighbours asking them if they have problems with Ivan Kruk.

11.35 – Uladzimir Sulzycki, activist of the Youth of the BPF Party in Smarhon, has suddenly been summoned for interrogation at the local Police department at 16.00 which means that he will not be able to go to Minsk and celebrate the Freedom day.

12.10 – The Police forces above mentioned Hanna Sruba to leave her flat and get out. She is immediately detained and transmitted to the Police department of the Central district of the city of Minsk. The Police don’t present any reason for detention.

12.20 – The Police blocks the flat of Maksim Viniarski, political activist from the organisation European Belarus to prevent him from celebrating the Freedom Day.

12.30 – Michas Kavalkou, trade union activist is detained by the local Police. He is detained parking nearby a hospital. Officers from the Road Police claim he is not allowed to park his car at the place and fine him 1 225 000 Belarusian roubles (around 300 €). He is then forced to go to the local Police station.

13.00 – Uladzimier Niapomniascych, entrepreneur and member of the UCP Party he has been detained for two days in a local jail, according to his wife.

13.20 – Activists Alaksandr Siarhiejenka and Tacciana Laskaviec are arrested in their own home. The Police officers forced their way into the flat and brought them, without any explanation, to the Police Department of the Zavadzki district.

14.00 – Barys Kucynski, local party activist of the Party of the Belarusian Christian Democracy is violently detained in the health centre and taken to an unknown location.

14.02 – Andrej Molcan, activist from European Belarus in Minsk, is detained by the Police. The Police officers came detained him at his work.

14.05 – Two officers from the Criminal Prosecution brake into a flat holding five democratic activists Siarzuk Huminski, Andrej Kastusiou, Zmicier Jakubouski, Ruslan Kavalau and Kaciaryna Hienzanskaja and a Polish citizen, Krystafor Kirdżyk. The Police officers retrieved their ids. Some of them were thereafter detained by Special Police Forces and taken to different locations.

14.14 – Iryna Pcolkina, democratic activist from the organisation of European Belarus is detained and brought to the Police Department of the Frunzienski district of the city of Minsk.

14.15 – The Police officers detain Franak Viacorka, Paval Pryvalau and another friend of theirs at the supermarket ”Centralny” in the centre of Minsk. According to police, they are accused of committing a malicious crime.

14.20 –The flat of Artur Finkievic and Nastassia Mascava, Leaders of the organisation of Young Belarus is blocked. Without giving any explanation, the Police try to brake in and turn off the electricity and connection.

14.40 – Maksim Viniarski, activist from the organisation of European Belarus is detained in central Minsk by Police officers from the Maskouski Police Department in the city of Minsk.

14.40 – Viktar Kalesnik, democratic activist from the town of Polack, is detained by the Police. The activist was on the way to Minsk by public mini-bus but after 10 km the Police stopped the bus and arrested him. He was driven to the Police department of the town of Polack where his was subjected to a five hour long interrogation.

14.50 – People from KGB try to break into the flats of Palina Dzjakava and Kaciaryna Ludvih, activists from European Belarus. When they both refused to open the door, KGB officers remained outside, preventing them to leave.

14.51 – Andrej Dzmitryjeu, political activist from the organisation of Tell the Truth, is detained by the KGB officers after sending several hundreds of postcards for political prisoners.

16.00 – Juljana Masiukievic, is arrested in class and brought to the Leninski Police Department of the city of Minsk. The police officers tell her she’s questioned in a criminal case but do not say which one.

16.26 – Ihar Lameka, activist from the organisation of Tell the Truth in the town of Hrodna, is detained by the local Police.

17.00 – Zmicier Salaujou, chairman of the local branch of the BPF Party in the Mahilou region, is arrested together with another civil activist Ales Silkou, and Uladzimir Lapcevic, journalist from the news agency BelaPan. They are accused of resisting the Police. Zmicier Salaujou needs medical assistance due to the violent arrest.

17.20 – Siarhiej Malaletkin, is detained by the local Police in the town of Orsha for unsure reasons. He is released only after the end of the celebrations of March 25.
17.20 – Aleh Korban, leader of the Young Democrats is detained the centre of Minsk together with 15 other activists from the same organisation who were on their way to the Janka Kupala Park to lay the flowers to the monument of the national writer.
Janka Kupala Park is blocked by police. Everywhere in Minsk, there are riot police buses and KGB officers. To prevent anyone to enter the park and laying flowers, the police claim that a bomb had been found and that place must be examined.

17.25 – While not completely blocked, the Jakub Kolas Square – another important location for the celebration—is filled with policemen and KGB agents. Some reporters claim they have heard the police receive orders to detain everyone approaching the square and sometime later, the police violently pushed the rest of the demonstrators from Jakub Kolas Square. Three young opposition activists (Vika Ladzis, Ivan Shyla and Andrei Tychyna) are violently detained by the police.
Uladzislau Staravierau, independent journalist in Viciebsk, is beaten while filming people laying flowers dedicated to the Freedom Day by the KGB and the Police officers.
Three democratic activists of the UCP Party from the town of Babrujsk, Nastassia Buzinava, Alaksandr Zukau and Natalia Tolkac, are detained in Minsk when buying flowers in a shop. They were kept in a Police cab for an hour and then brought to the Police Department of the Soviet district.

17.30 – Valancin Labacou and Dzmitry Pasrednikau, democratic activists from Malady Front (Young Front), are detained by the Police, as well as Jury Novikau, deputy-chairman of the Belarusian Free Trade Union and Uladzimir Novikau.

18.03 – Mikalaj Dziemidzienka, Kasia Dalidovic and Maryja Kvicinskaja are detained on their way out from the underground station.

18.10 – The authorities starts blocking the sites of independent news agencies and newspapers. There are some difficulties to reach the newspaper Nasa Niva and news agency Radyjo Racyja.

18.20 – The Police detain two young activists are detained for carrying national flags. Later the KGB arrests famous political activist Viktar Ivaskievic.

18.40 – Approximately 200 people try to advance to the Jakub Kolas Square are stopped by the Special Police Forces. The Police start detaining and beating people who are trying to put flowers at the monument of the national writer Jakub Kolas.

18.45 – The KGB detains Siarhiej Chinievic, a man occasionally passing by the Jakub Kolas Square.
A total number of detained and arrested people on the day of 25th of March sums to more than 70 people, i.e. at least 52 people in Minsk and 18 people in the regions.
Most of detained were released in the evening except for several political activists, who remain in jail until the trials on Mars 28.
Juras Hubarevich, deputy chairman of the For Freedom movement, is detained at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.
The Minsk City Court dismisses the appeal of Vasil Parfiankou’s lawyer. This means his sentence of four years imprisonment in a high security colony stands.
Siarhiej Kavalenka, democratic activist from Viciebsk, who was arrested recently, stands trial in Cyhunacny district He was arrested for carrying national flags and accused of organising an unauthorised event and disorderly conduct. The court sentences him to seven days in prison.
Barys Chamajda, democratic activist in the town of Viciebsk, stands trial for the fourth time. Just as at the three previous times, he is detained for distributing independent media. The court of the Cyhunacny district fines him 1.225.000 Belarusian roubles (around 300 €).

March 26

Palina Panasiuk, young girl, democratic activist from Malady Front (Young Front) in the town of Brest, is arrested in the centre of Brest for carrying a national flag with the pictures of political prisoners. The local Police initiate a criminal case against her in accordance with the articles 17.1 and 23.4 for disorderly conduct and for not obeying to the Police. The activist is being accused of disrespectful behaviour, she hints the Police officer causing his mobile phone to fall. In additional she screams and offends the Police officers.
Zmicier Bandarenka, democratic activist from European Belarus, who has been arrested and accused in accordance with the criminal case about the “mass riots”, meets his lawyer for the first time after spending three months in custody.

March 27

Aleksandr Lashmakin, Russian independent journalist and news and human rights agency Freedom in the town of Samara, is released from the jail after spending there three days in jail in the town of Orsha.

March 28

The day is characterized with trials and searches of the detained people from Freedom Day on the 25th of March.
Uladzimir Lapcevic, journalist from the news agency Belapan in the town of Mahilou, is sentenced to seven days in prison.
Zmicier Salaujou, chairman of the local branch of the BPF Party in the Mahilou region, is sentenced to five days imprisonment. Both Uladzimir Lapcevic and Zmicier Salaujou were violently arrested on the street in Mahilou on March 25. The Police accuse them of swearing and inappropriate behaviour, i.e. disrespect towards the Police officers.
Palina Panasiuk, democratic activist in Brest, is fined 770.000 (about 185 €) by the court of Leninski district.
Palina Panasiuk was detained in the centre of Brest for holding the national flag. Seeing that, a Police officer ran after her to catch her. Afterwards she was accused of not obeying the Police and of unauthorised actions. The Police officer had also complaints that the activist dared to “step on his foot”.
Uladzimir Niapomniascych, democratic activist of the UCP Party and former Police officer, spent the weekend after being arrested on March 25 on a bus on his way to Minsk. The activist was accused of inappropriate behaviour and dirty swearing on the stop of public transport.
Ihar Lamaka, democratic activist from the organisation of Tell the Truth in the town of Hrodna, was illegally detained on March 25. The Police said that the reason for detention is that Ihar Lamaka looks familiar to a suspected person whom the Police had been looking for. Later, the Police searched his home for some equipment, such as PC etc.
Iryna Hubskaja, democratic activist and human rights defender from the Belarusian Helsinki committee, is accused of swearing and sentenced to three days in prison. She was arrested on March 25 on her way to the Jakub Kolas Square to lay the flowers to the monument of Belarusian national writer.
Viktar Ivaskievic, famous Belarusian democratic activist, is accused of disorderly conduct by the Saviecki district court and sentenced to ten days imprisonment. He has got arrested on March 25 nearby the Jakub Kolas Square.
Mikola Dziemidzienka, one of the leaders of the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front), is accused of participating in an unauthorised demonstration and sentenced to ten days imprisonment by the Piersamajski district court. The activist got arrested when exiting the underground station on Jakub Kolas Square. He was violently arrested; several KGB officers laid him down and literally brought him on the ground to the Police car nearby.
The KGB questions Iryna Lohvin, one of the coordinators of the Belarusian Christian Democracy. During two hours of the interrogation, the KGB officers were questioning Iryna Lohvin about the events on December 19, 2010.
Two German journalists, Doris Heimann from the newspaper Rhein Zeitung, and Robert Bag from the Moscow broadcasting service of Deutschland Radio, are detained on the border entering Belarus in Lojeu. The Police interrogates them for eight hours and then subjected them to a search all their belongings. The Journalist Robert Bag is forced to undress partly while showing his equipment. The Police initiate an administrative case against the journalists accusing them of crossing the border illegally; the case means an official warning without deportation. Both German journalists are released after more than nine hours of detention and interrogation.
Andrej Paczobut, journalist of one of Poland’s largest newspapers Gazeta Wyborcza in Belarus, is officially accused of insulting the president of Belarus, Alaksandr Lukasenka. The journalist was called to the Prosecutor’s Office in the town of Homiel where he was told by the Prosecutor that the criminal case has been opened against him in accordance with the article 368 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus – insult of president. The reason for that are some articles which the journalist has written in Polish newspaper and his personal blog, however, the Prosecution Office hasn’t revealed which ones.
Andrej Paczobut risks two years in prison.

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