Fines and arrests right before start of election campaign in Belarus

Since May 6, about 120 Belarusians who showed up at protest rallies or meetings with an opposition vlogger have found themselves in the crosshairs, Human Rights Centre Viasna reports.

In early May, Syarhei Tsikhanouski, the author of Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни ( A Country for Life) held meetings with the subscribers in several Belarusian cities and towns. The local authorities made attempts to thwart the events; later, many participants were detained or summoned to the police.

Belarus: Activists tried in bulk, Belsat TV contributors detained

In addition, Belarusian law enforcers were after Brest residents protesting against the operation of a hazardous battery plant in the city and a group of youngsters who staged a performance in response to holding the Victory parade amid the pandemic. Trials took place in Minsk, Homiel, Vitsebsk, Lida, Hrodna, Mahiliou, Brest and other ten places.

Within the past week, 50 people have been sentenced to terms ranging from 2 to 25 days in prison, Viasna informs. In total, Belarusian judges punished the defendants with 479 days in arrest and fines to the tune of 15,741 rubles.

Human rights defenders and journalists who were monitoring and covering the protests have also got in trouble with the regime.

On May 11-12, Belarusian courts sentenced Mikhail Arshynski, Zmitser Lupach, Alyaksandr Burakou and Ales Asiptsou to administrative detention for ‘participating in unauthorised rallies’. After the hearing, Belsat TV contributor Zmitser Lupach was taken to the intensive care unit due to hypertensive emergency.

Belsat contributor Lupach discharged from hospital and expected in detention facility

As reported earlier, the 2020 presidential election is scheduled for August, 9. Over the last five days, many people have profiled their presidential ambitions, including incumbent leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, former MP Hanna Kanapatskaya, Belarusian hi-tech park founder Valery Tsapkala, banker Viktar Babaryka, and others.