Wheels of court: Authorities neutralize opposition activists

Seven jail sentences were imposed on opposition activists shortly before a demonstration marking the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Other seven persons are to appear before court today. Their detention might be put down to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s scheduled visit to Minsk.

According to human right centre Viasna, in the run-up to the demonstration police arrested eight activists, seven of them were sentenced to up to 25 days in custody for alleged petty crimes, resisting police officers or violation of preventive surveillance regulations.

Former political prisoner Zmitser Dashkevich, charged with resisting police officers or violation of preventive surveillance regulations, will have to spend 25 days behind bars. Maksim Viniarski, an activist of sentenced to a 12-day jail term. An ambulance was called to the courthouse when Mr Viniarski complained that he had acute angina and felt unwell. Although arriving doctors concluded that the man needed hospital treatment, police officers said that he would have to go to the detention center on Akrestsina Street.The activist of an opposition organization called European Belarus went on a ‘dry’ hunger strike following his trial.

{movie}Plain-clothed policemen grabbing participants of the Chernobyl Path demonstration, video by HRC Viasna.|right|16153{/movie}

Former political prisoner Aliaksandr Frantskevich was also arrested before the event but his case is to be tried only on Monday. Human rights defenders and Aliaksandr’s relatives do not know which accusations are brought against him.

Yury Rubtsou, Leanid Smouzh and other four activists (their names are still unknown) are to stand trial today as well. They were grabbed during the demonstration.


See also