Week 18, April 19-25

April 25th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office calls Ryhor Kastusiou, presidential candidate to an interrogation in connection with the explosion in Minsk.

April 19

The Police break into a flat where Valery Scukin, Belarusian human rights defender and independent journalist, is celebrating his Birthday together with colleagues and friends. Many of the guests are well-known democratic activists and human rights defenders, such as Pavel Levinau (Belarusian Helsinki Committee), Volha Karac (civil-political initiative Our House and chairwoman of the regional branch of the UCP Party in the province of Viciebsk) and Aleh Barsceuski (human rights defender). The Police check out personal documents and demand to search the flat as, according to unknown sources, there are weapons in the flat. However, Valery Scukin asks the Police to show a search warrant. After some time, all of the guests are detained and brought to the Police station. 14 of them are released other four have to stay at the Police station.
The Police initiate a protocol against Volha Karac and Pavel Levinau in accordance with the article 359, terrorist act. The Police officers reveal that the activists are suspected in connection with the explosion in Minsk on April 11. However, some time later the accusations are changed for all of four detained activists, now they are being accused of swearing.
Siarhiej Niarouny, independent journalist in the town of Krycau, is officially warned by the local Prosecutor’s Office after he wrote an article about the events on April 11 in the newspaper Volny Horad . The officials accuse him of spreading unreliable information which could discredit state officials. In a letter the authorities inform Siarhiej Niarouny that in case he writes one more similar article, he will be punished in accordance with the Belarusian law.

April 20

The four activists, detained yesterday during Valery Scukin’s birthday celebrations, stand before the Court. Volha Karac, Pavel Levinau, Aleh Barsceuski and Pavel Stanieuski are being accused of bad swearing in accordance with the article 17.1 of the Belarusian law. The Court dismisses any lawful motions from Volha Karac who asked the Court to question witnesses of her defender.
The Court fines Volha Karac to 700.000 Belarusian roubles (about 163 €); Pavel levinau and Aleh Barsceuski are sentenced to 10 days imprisonment, and the trial of Pavel Stanieuski is postponed.
Maryna Capok, human right defender and member of the International Observation Mission to Belarus, is detained at the border entering Belarus. She is deported back to Ukraine since, according to the authorities, she is not allowed to enter the country.
The General Prosecutor’s Office hand out another warning for the largest independent newspaper Naša Niva after publishing an article about the explosion in Minsk on April 11. According to the authorities, the article contains information which is unreliable and, therefore, could discredit state officials or representatives of the government.
Jury Hryniaviecki, leader of the local branch of the Social democrats in the town of Babrujsk, is called to the KGB for an interrogation.

April 21

Pavel Stankieuski, one of the civil activists detained on April 19, is on trial accused of bad swearing. The Court finds him guilty and he is sentenced to eight days imprisonment.
Uladzimir Sulzycki, activist from the youth organisation of Malady Front (Young Front) in the town of Smarhon, is detained by the Police. The day before he was interrogated by the local Prosecutor’s Office regarding the explosion in Minsk subway on April 11. In the evening his house is searched; a computer and a few other things are confiscated. After spending one day at the local KGB, Uladzimir Sulzycki is released.
The home of Alaksiej Kapucki, human rights defender from the town of Maladecna is searched by the local KGB in connection with the explosion in Minsk. The KGB confiscates some books, CDs, leaflets etc.
Paval Padabied, video-operator at the news agency BelaPan is detained by the Police in the centre of Minsk, while making reportage about a group of Belarusian citizens trying to get in contact with the Belarusian authorities at the House of Government. The activists would like to see an independent civil commission for re-consideration of criminal and civil cases in Belarus. After several hours at the Police station, the video-operator is released.

April 22

The Belarusian authorities ban peaceful actions in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In many towns all around the country, the local authorities proclaim it illegal to arrange any kind of manifestations. The local councils of the towns of Hrodna and Salihorsk officially ban all activities on the day of the anniversary.
Siarhiej Kavalenka, democratic activist in Viciebsk is arrested, once again, and has to spend the remaining days, of an earlier sentence, in prison.
He was previously arrested on Freedom Day March 25, and sentenced to several days of imprisonment. He was released on April 1, but was once again arrested. The Police initiated a new case against him and accused him of “breaking the jail regime”. As a result, Siarhiej Kavalenka was sentenced to another 15 days imprisonment. The activist declared a hunger strike in protest against the repressions against him and issued several complaints to the local Prosecution Office. He was release early after he was brought in bad condition to a hospital.
Vital Hulaka, oppositional activist from the UCP Party in the town of Valkavysk, is detained by the Police after the activist was spreading the stickers with the information about the political prisoners in the country. After some time at the Police station, Vital Hulaka is released without charges.

April 23

Uladzimir Sulzycki, oppositional activist from the town of Smarhon, is violently arrested by the KGB in the head quarters of the Belarusian Popular Front Party in Minsk. The Saviecki district police department accuse the activist of disorderly conduct in accordance with the article 17.1 of Belarusian law. The trial will be on May 16.

April 25

Viktar Kalesnik and Alaksandr Halincau, local human rights defenders and activists from the election team of presidential candidate Andrej Sannikau are detained in the town of Polack. They are accused of disorderly conduct.
Ales Kalita, oppositional activist of the BPF Party and former leader of BPF Youth, is pulled off a night train on the way to the grandfather’s funeral. The Court in the city of Homiel accuses him of disorderly conduct in accordance with the article 17.1 and sentences him to 10 days imprisonment. It’s worth noting that Ales Kalita was a political draftee. He was stationed in the nearby town of Lepel, together with the accused perpetrator of the strong explosion at the Kastrycnickaja subway station in Minsk.
Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office calls Ryhor Kastusiou, presidential candidate to an interrogation in connection with the explosion in Minsk.

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