A district judge in Minsk on September 30 sentenced four men to fines for wearing T-shirts bearing an image of imprisoned former presidential candidate Mikalay Statkevich.
Yawhen Naporka, Maksim Dubowski, Andrey Vislovich and Kiryl Zhyvalovich, all of whom represent a website covering local news in the capital city’s neighborhood of Serabranka, were each fined two million rubels ($220).
The young men put on the T-shirts to take part in a Challenge Cup running race but were apprehended by police before the start.
Mr. Zhyvalovich was released on the same day, while the remaining three men were taken to a detention center and freed in the courtroom after their trials.
“We view the sentences as unfair and plan to appeal them to a higher court,” said Mr. Zhyvalovich.
“We were not going to turn our participation in the run into a political event,” Mr. Zhyvalovich told BelaPAN shortly after his arrest. “By wearing the T-shirts, we wanted to display our support for the former presidential candidate. We were not bothering festival participants with any questions, were not distributing any leaflets and were not staging any demonstration.”