Week 15: March 29-April 4

April 4th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

The eighth trial is held in the criminal case regarding the “mass riots” on December 19th, 2010. The Department of Interior Affairs in the City of Minsk changes the charges (the criminal case of “mass riots”) for several oppositional activists, as well as presidential candidates. Natalia Radzina, journalist of the most popular independent news agency Charter97, secretly flees the country.

March 29

The eighth trial is held in the criminal case regarding the “mass riots” on December 19th, 2010.
20year-old democratic activist Mikita Lichavid is accused of participating in “mass riots” after the falsified elections on December 19 2010, of damaging the Parliament building and of armed resistance against 29 Police officers. The prosecutor asked the court to sentence the activist to four years’ in prison. However, in the final decision the court of the Partyzanski district in the city of Minsk sentenced Mikita Lichavid to three and half years in a high security colony.
The KGD attaches the private property of the journalist Andrej Paczobut in accordance with the recently opened criminal case against him for insulting the president. The KGB officers take most of his valuables including TV, computers, washing machine and many other things.
Andrej Zukau, activist from the UCP Party, is taken from his work by the Police. He is awaiting interrogation or further actions at the Police station.

March 30

Zmicier Salaujou, democratic activist and chairman of the local branch of the BPF Party in Mahilou region, is released from jail after five days. He was arrested on March 25 in the town of Mahilou when walking with his family to the local historic museum to lay down flowers dedicated to the Freedom Day, March 25.
Natalia Radzina, Nasta Palazanka and Iryna Chalip, three democratic activists who are being accused in accordance with the criminal case of “mass riots”, are called for interrogation at the KGB in Minsk.
The Department of Interior Affairs in the City of Minsk changes the charges (the criminal case of “mass riots”) for Uladzimir Niaklajeu, Siarhiej Vazniak, Andrej Dzmitryjeu, Vital Rymaseuski and Nasta Palazanka. Now they are being accused according to the article 342 §1. of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus – organisation and preparation of actions that flagrantly violate public order, or active participation in them. The Article provides for a fine, or an arrest of up to 6 months, or restriction of freedom for up to three years, or imprisonment for the same time period.

March 31

Vadzim Ramanau, participant of the peaceful demonstration after the elections on December 19, 2010, is arrested by the Police at home in his native town Sluck. According to the activist’s mother who was at home at the time when the Police came, the officers almost smashed down the doors and straight away started beating Vadzim Ramanau. Afterwards the activist was taken to the local Police station.
The Prosecutor’s Office in the town of Lida initiates a criminal case of “slander” in accordance with the article 189 §2 against Jauhien Kucko, blogger from the same town. In the autumn of 2010 he published on the Internet several caricatures of a representative of the local authorities. Now the blogger is suspected in a criminal case and if found guilty will, according to the article of the Criminal Code, risk to get fined, sentenced to forced labour up to two years, three months restriction of freedom or imprisonment for three years.
Raman Kislak, human rights defender in the town of Brest, goes to Court with an appeal against the Police officers who violently arrested him while he was handing out leaflets “Don’t be afraid!”. The Police arrested him and took all the leaflets. The Police officers took his fingerprints against his will and while doing that twisted Raman Kislak’s arm. He was injured with a sprained arm. Afterwards he was brought to a Medical Care Centre.
Jauhien Sakret, is for the first time accused in the criminal case of “mass riots”. He has not been politically active or belonged to any political organisation or party. On December 19, 2010 he participated in the demonstration after the elections where he got arrested by the Police, He was sentenced to ten days imprisonment for participating in an unauthorised event. Later Jauhien Sakret was transmitted to the prison on Valadarski Street in Minsk where he is at the moment.
Mikita Lichavid, arrested in accordance with the criminal case of “mass riots” and sentenced to three and half year imprisonment in a colony of high security, starts a hunger strike in protest against the unjustified verdict.
Mikalaj Carhiniec, Belarusian official and chairman of the State Society Council of Morality, suggests that the Parliament of Belarus prohibit oppositional activists to leave the country. His reasoning for this is that “the opposition must be punished somehow for unjustified damage of the Belarusian regime.

April 1, 2011

Natalia Radzina, journalist of the most popular independent news agency Charter97, secretly flees the country just before an interrogation at the KGB. She announces it through the news page Charter97. Natalia Radzina is one of the accused in the criminal case of “mass riots”.
After the news that Natalia Radzina fled the country, the KGB straight away starts interrogating journalists at night, among them are Maryna Koktys from the newspaper Naša Niva and Andrej Skurko, chief editor of the same newspaper.
Siarhiej Kavalenka, democratic activist in the town of Vociebsk, is released from jail after seven days. He got arrested on Freedom Day March 25. However, 5 minutes after leaving the jail, he is once again arrested. The Police initiate a new case against him and accuses him of “break of the jail regime”. As a result, Siarhiej Kavalenka is sentenced to another 15 days imprisonment. The activist declares a hunger strike in protest against the repressions against him.

April 2

Uladzimir Niaklajeu, former oppositional candidate in the elections, is interrogated by the KGB. Now he faces milder charges since the Prosecution Office recently changed the charges. Now Uladzimir Niaklajeu might be imprisoned for up to three years.
The Belarusian Popular Front, country’s oldest democratic political party, continues protesting against the cancellation of the rent agreement which means that the party has to leave the current office. During the first days of the protests, people guard the office around the clock. Foreign ambassadors visit the office of the BPF Party to express the support. Many musicians and writers organise different kind of events in solidarity with the party.

April 4

The General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus rejects opening a criminal case in accordance with the statement of Ales Michalevic, former oppositional candidate, about the tortures towards him at the KGB jail. On February 28, the politician sent an official request to the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and stop the tortures and horrible conditions at the KGB jail.
Some more participants that are accused in the criminal case of “mass riots” face new changed charges.
The preliminary investigative department of Minsk City Department of Internal Affairs has brought new changed charges against Zmicier Bandarenka (European Belarus), Paval Sieviaryniec (one of the leaders of the Belarusian Christian Democracy), Iryna Chalip (journalist and wife of former oppositional candidate Andrej Sannikau) and Siarhiej Marcalevic (colleague of former oppositional candidate Mikola Statkievic). Now they are being accused of organising and preparing actions that flagrantly violate public order, or active participation in them in accordance with the article 342 §1. The article provides for a fine, or an arrest of up to 6 months, or restriction of freedom for up to two years, or imprisonment for the same term.

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