Week 19, April 26-May 2

May 2nd, 2011   Theme: Belarus

New trials against democratic activists in accordance with the criminal case “mass riots” after the elections on December 19, 2010. Six German nationals and a citizen of Poland will be deported from Belarus.

April 26

Zmicier Bandarenka, democratic activist and one of the accused and arrested in the criminal case of “mass riots” after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010, stand before the court. The activist is being accused of organising and preparing actions that flagrantly violate public order, alternate active participation, in accordance with 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 time period. The trial is postponed until April 27.
Uladzimir Staravierau, independent journalist in the town of Viciebsk, is detained by the Police when filming people gathering in the centre of the town in memory of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. Some officers lay down the journalist and try force him into the Police car. People present start to protest against unjustified brutality. At that point the Police start acting more polite and take Uladzimir Staravierau to the Police station where his mobile phone and other equipment are confiscated.
Vital Hulak, oppositional activist from the UCP Party, is detained again when spreading leaflets with information about political prisoners and repressions in Belarus.
Jahor Jaromcak, Alena Vitko, Siarhiej Slusar, Ihar Bahacyk and Alaksandr Buhajou, civil activists in the town of Minsk, stand before the court after being detained and accused of unauthorized picket. The day before the activists had protested against a nuclear plant project. The Frunzienski Court of the City of Minsk fines Jahor Jaromcak, Alena Vitko, Siarhiej Slusar, Ihar Bahacyk to 525.000 Belarusian roubles (about 122 €), and Alaksandr Buhajou is fined 700.000 Belarusian roubles (about 162€).
Ihar Truchanovic, civil activist in the city of Minsk, is violently detained by the KGB in front of the Frunzenski Court where several other activists are on trial for protesting against the nuclear plant project. After some time, an administrative case is opened against Ihar Truchanovic.
Viktar Kalesnik and Alaksandr Kalincau, oppositional activists from the election team of former oppositional candidate Andrej Sannikau and local human rights defenders in the town of Polack, who were arrested on the a day before, stand before the court after spending one night in jail. They are accused of bad swearing and are sentenced to two days imprisonment.

April 27

Another trial in a mass riots criminal case after the election demonstrations. This time, several activists face two different courts in Minsk. The activists include former oppositional candidate Andrej Sannikau and Ales Kirkievic, vice-chairman of the organisation Malady Front (Young Front). The other participants are Illa Vasilevic and Fiodar Mirzajanau, participant December 19 demonstrations, Malady Front activists Aleh Hniedcyk and Uladzimier Jaromienak, Paval Vinahradau, chairman of the local branch of European Belarus in Hrodna, Andrej Pratasienia, activist of the UCP Party and Dzmitry Drozd, campaigner for former oppositional candidate Andrej Sannikau. The trial is postponed until tomorrow.
Uladzislau Staravierau, independent journalist in Viciebsk, who was harshly detained when filming the peaceful picket in memory of the Chernobyl victims, is accused of swearing and misconduct against the Police. The journalist is informed about the administrative case against him being released from jail where he spent a night. The case has been sent to the court.
Zmicier Bandarenka, famous democratic activist from European Belarus and one of the accused in the criminal case of “mass riots”, is sentenced to two years in prison. The activist was found guilty according to Par. 1 Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organizing and preparing or actively participating in actions, grossly violating public.)
The Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus is about to close two largest independent newspapers in the country. The Ministry sent a request to the Superior Economic Court of Belarus to stop the publication of the two largest independent newspapers in Belarus, Narodnaya Vola and Nasha Niva. The decision was made by the Ministry of Information in accordance with the sub-paragraph 2.2 of article 51 §2 of Belarusian Law on mass media, stating that two or more officially written warnings has been issued by the authorities in the last year.
Jaraslau Biernikovic, democratic activist from Hlybokaje, is accused of violating the law about mass arrangements during authorised events. The Police opened an administrative case against the activist according to the initiative of the chancellor of the regional council. The trial is expected on May 5.
Barysau Independent Trade Union activist Mikalai Pachabau is denied permission to hold a peaceful picket on International Labour Solidarity Day – May 1st.

April 28

It is the second day of the trial against the ten activists in the criminal case of “mass riots”. After hearing witnesses and material from the both sides of prosecutor and defender, the courts decide to adjourn the trials until tomorrow.
Ivan Kandracienka, Russian human right defender, is detained after a break in the trial against democratic activist in the Kastrycnicki court by the KGB. After several hours at the Police station, the human rights defender is released and ordered by the Police to leave Belarus within a day.
Alaksandr Kudlajeu, activist from the civil campaign European Belarus, is fined to 1, 75 million Belarusian rubles (about 405 €), according to the article 23.34 §3 of the Belarusian law after the activist tried to hang out a poster “Freedom to Political Prisoners”.
Zodzina police break into a private house, hosting an ongoing seminar on the region’s social development. The seminar participants, including two Ukrainian nationals, are taken to local police station and forced to provide written explanations. After several hours, they are released.

April 29

The third day in the court process involving ten activists charged with mass riots . The court is adjourned until May 4th.
The Minsk City Court dismisses an appeal to nullify the 3, 5 years prison term in a high security colony imposed on Mikita Lichavid, lawyer of democratic activist the movement For Freedom.

April 30

Several local authorities forbid pickets or peaceful manifestations for May1st.. The Independent Trade Union is prevented from holding any kind of event in several towns, among them Brest, Salihorsk, Mahilou, Barysau, and Zodzina.
Belarusian anarchists Ihar Alinevic, Mikalai Dziadok, Alaksandr Frantcevic and Maksim Vetkin will be heard by Judge Mrs. Zanna Chvainickaya of Minsk Zavodski District Court between 18 and 23 May. The anarchists face charges for allegedly being involved in a number of attacks and arsons of several government buildings. Apart from that, Alaksandr Franckevic is accused of hacking the web-site of Navapolack town executive committee. All of them risks 12 years in prison.

May 1

Six German nationals and a citizen of Poland will be deported from Belarus, after standing trials and being fined for participating in a picket of protest at the construction of a nuclear power plant. The foreigners were detained on April 25, together with five more activists and later fined 700,000 Belarusian rubles (about about 162€).

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