Legal mayhem in Belarus: Activists, journalists fined, jailed after protests against tax on idlers

Politician Pavel Sevyarynets, activists Viktar Andreyeu, Viktar Mikhasiou, Vasil Berasneu, Andrey Yurkou, Belsat TV reporter Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava) and RFE/RL journalist Halina Abakunchyk and others have been on trial today after being detained during Sunday’s protest rallies against the so-called tax on social parasites.

  • Viktar Andreyev has been sentenced to 13 days of arrest for participating in an unsanctioned protest action held yesterday in the center of Orsha.
  • Activist Viktar Mikhasiou has been BYN 690 fined (appr. $360).
  • $300 fine has been imposed even on RFE/RL journalist Halina Abakunchyk. Although she was performing her journalistic duties, the woman was charged with participation in an illegal rally.
  • Activist Vasil Berasneu has been sentenced to 14 days of arrest.
  • Activist Andrey Yurkou has been sentenced to 2 days in custody
  • Two fines have been imposed on the chairman of the regional organization of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party Minsk Ales Abramovich.
  • Babruysk: Activist Maxim Lubinski has been sentenced to 5 dais in jail; Volha Audzeychyk has been fined
  • Minsk: Vyachaslau Kasinerau has been sentences to 15 days in custody
  • Activist Maxim Filipovich has been sentenced to 13 days in arrest

(UPD) Politician and former political prisoner Pavel Sevyarynets has been sentenced to 15 days in prison. Belsat TV journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva has been $360 fined.

On March 11-12, residents of a number of Belarusian towns, including Brest, Orsha, Babruysk and Rahachou, took to the streets to protest the so-called ‘parasite’ law. In Orsha, Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Alyaksandr Barazenka were forced to get into a police car when they were filming the policemen detaining Pavel Sevyarynets.

Decree Nr 3 signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in April, 2015 established the obligation of the citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in Belarus, stateless persons, who did not participate in the financing of public spending or participated in such financing less than 183 days (six months – ed.) in the past year, to pay a fee of 20 basic units (appr. $230).

The notorious decree caused a massive public outcry. In February-March, protests were held in a number of Belarusian cities and towns. On March 9, the implementation of the infamous ‘parasite’ law was put on the back burner.

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