Members of Tsikhanouskaya’s initiative group on trial in Homiel

The trial against the members of the Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s initiative group. Photo:

On April 12, members of the initiative group of ex-presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Yury Ulasau, Zmitser Ivashkou, Alyaksandr Shabalin and Tatsyana Kaneuskaya, stood trial in Homiel.

They are accused of participation in mass riots and plans to seize administrative buildings.

About 40 people (relatives, support groups and journalists) came to the trial, but only a few managed to get into the hall. The police put metal detector frames in the foyer on the first floor and prohibited taking photos and videos even in the corridor. A riot police patrol walks by the court and a traffic policeman stands by.

Alyaksei Kaneusky, son of defendant Tatsyana Kaneuskaya, said that only four relatives of political prisoners, one from each family, were allowed into the courtroom. In addition to them in the hall there are six victims (probably security officers), several employees of state media, three people whom no one knows and who passed through the entrance for the judge. There are plenty of empty seats. The victims had petitioned to be questioned without witnesses. Now they are being questioned. There is no lunch break. Only the relatives were forced to hand in their cell phones. Everyone else present has their cell phones, said Alyaksei Kaneuski.

At the beginning of the trial, Yury Ulasau rejected judge Hlyshchankou. The judge overruled it. Relatives of the defendants point out that both the judge and the prosecutor speak very quietly, it is impossible to hear anything. The situation did not improve after the request to speak louder.