Fight for justice: Jailed European Belarus activist on ‘dry’ hunger strike for 7 days

Maksim Viniarski’s relatives and friends are concerned about his health. In his letter to human rights defender Yuliya Stsiapanava Maksim Viniarski says he is confident upon his being on the right side of the hedge.

On April, 22 the activist was arrested by police near Karona shopping centre in Minsk on the grounds that he ‘resembled a wanted person’. Upon arrival at a police station, he was charged with disobedience to police officers. Lyudmila Lapo, a judge of Frunzenski district court, found him guilty and sentenced to 12 days in jail.

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.

According to Yuliya Stsiapanava, Mr Viniarski is sick and has a subfebrile fever. ‘All policemen and Frunzenski court administrators’ actions towards me are nothing but provocation. These actions are unacceptable, and if no one takes a stand against the system, they will never stop. The measures I am taking are considered and accurate, I make no doubt about my line, I realise what I could sacrifice for the sake of it,’ Mr Viniarski wrote in his letter.

On April, 25 defence lawyer Volha Bezbarodkina visited Mr Viniarski in jail. The activist continues his hunger strike, she says.


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 and the Ice Hockey World Championship (9-25 May).

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