Famous Belarusian basketball player gets fine after spending 15 days in jail

On Thursday morning, Alena Leuchanka was to be released from the detention centre in Akrestsin street in Minsk, but the Belarusian authorities could not but spoil the day.

The atlete’s family and friends who came to meet her at the prison walls told journalists that Leuchanka was detained for 72 hours as part of another case; a trial was held in the afternoon. Alena Leuchanka was found quilty of ‘participating in an unauthorised mass event’ that took place on September, 20. During the rally, she was reportedly carrying a banner with the inscription ‘Nation is champion!’ A fine of 810 Belarusian rubles was slapped on her.

Alena Leuchanka’s parents and friends waiting for her release near detention centre. Minsk, 15 October 2020. Photo: belsat.eu

Alena Leuchanka complained about poor confinement conditions: her mattress and bedding were taken away by force; there was no hot water or shower; the toilet in the cell was not flushing; to top it all, she got lice in jail.

Meanwhile, Maksim Ryzhankou, Chairman of the Belarusian Basketball Federation and deputy head of the Presidential Administration, harshly criticised participants in protest rallies during today’s meeting with the residents of Hrodna region, RFE/RL reports.

‘Grannies against violence’: Pensioners’ March in Minsk and regions

On September 30, Leuchanka, a member of the independent sportpeople’s movement SOS.by, was detained at Minsk Airport. The athlete who was about to leave the country for medical treatment was taken to Leninski district police department. Later, the woman informed her attorney Mikhail Kirylyuk that she was charged with violation the rules of holding mass events (Art. 23.34-1 of the Code of Administrative Offences). She was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest and transferred to the notorious detention centre in Akrestsin Street.

Alena Leuchanka has been playing for the Belarusian national basketball team since 2001. She repeatedly took part in Sunday protest marches and openly spoke out against police violence in Belarus.

Currently, four Belarusian athletes are being kept behind bars on political grounds.

Prominent Belarusian basketball player gets 15-day jail term over taking part in protests