Belarusian Investigative Committee gives names of defendants in ‘student marches’ case’

Маrch of Students in Minsk. 1 September 2020. Photo: АВ / Belsat

As part of the so called student marches’ case, charges have been brought against 12 persons (students, a teacher and a member of the oppositions Coordination Council, the Belarusian Investigative Committee (IC) reports.

The agency claims that they discussed staging the students’ protest rallies with opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

According to the IC, they were coordinators at the local level, they posted on special Telegram channels, called for participation in protests, produced and distributed leaflets, led the participants, engaged in their preparation and training, reported on the movement of law enforcement officers.

Маrch of pensioners, doctors, students in Minsk. 26 October 2020. Photo: Agata Kwiatkowska / Belsat

The protests disrupted the educational process and the normal way of universities’ work, because young people blocked corridors and stairways, shouted loudly, whistled, chanted slogans and sang songs, investigators say.

The imprisoned defendants are charged under Art. 17-2 and Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code (the latter is ‘organisation of actions that grossly violate public order’). The criminal case has been handed over to the prosecutor for further submitting to court.

  • Maryia Kalenik (Belarusian State Academy of Arts);
  • Kseniya Syramalot (Belarusian State University);
  • Kasya Budzko (Belarusian State Pedagogical University);
  • Yana Arabeyka (Belarusian State Pedagogical University);
  • Yahor Kanetski (Belarusian State University/BSU);
  • Hleb Fitsner (Minsk State Linguistic University);
  • Ilya Trakhtenberg (expelled student of BSU);
  • Viktoryia Hrankouskaya (expelled student of Belarusian National Technical Univercity/BNTU);
  • Anastasiya Bulybenka (expelled student of BNTU)

On November 12, Volha Filatchankava, a lecturer at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR) was arrested and accused under Art. 342-1 of the Criminal Code. Alana Hebremaryam, a Coordination Council member and Tsikhanouskaya’s representative on youth and student affairs., faced the same charge Two weeks later, KGB officers detained BSU student Tatsyana Yakelchyk, who was also charged under Art. 342-1 and taken into custody.

On September 1, Belarus’ official Knowledge Day, lots of students took to the streets to protest against vote rigging and the authorities’ harsh response to dissidence. OMON special forces and plainclothed policemen detained young people across the country. The students’ protests continued in September and October.

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