Liberalization in action: authorities persecuting activists across country

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She has proof that the elections were rigged. But instead of reviewing the evidence, the authorities decided to punish the independent observer with a fine. A trial was held in the village of Aktsyabrsky over activist Alena Lutskovich who on October 30 held a one-person rally in the local market with a poster about the falsification of the presidential elections. For trying to tell the truth the observer got a 2.7 million fine.

ALENA LUTSKOVICH – INDEPENDENT OBSERVER, UCP YOUNG DEMOCRATS ‘ACTIVIST

“This was my attempt at drawing people’s attention to the crime and the people guilty of it. They must be punished, because the ballot rigging is a crime against the state, against the Belarusian people.”

Activists are tried not only in the regions. It became known yesterday that the leader of the solidarity movement Razam (Together) Vyachaslau Siuchyk was fined  10.8 million rubles by the court of Tsentralny district in Minsk, not only for speaking at a rally against the Russian military bases, but as it turned out, also for … insulting the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

VYACHASLAU SIUCHYK – RAZAM MOVEMENT LEADER

“Today’s law enforcement systems, in particular the police, began to defend Vladimir Putin. My speech in the court was only about it. I said that it is dangerous for Belarus. After all, the police show that they are lackeys of Putin, instead of defending the sovereignty of Belarus.”

Earlier, the Minsk City Court overturned the decision and sent the case back for retrial … in the same court of the Central district of the capital.

Meanwhile, the police are looking for another activist, former political prisoner Eduard Lobau, who is now fighting against the pro-Russian militants in Ukraine. This morning, the mother of Eduard was visited by police officers who wanted to inspect the apartment.

MARYNA LOBAVA – EDUARD LOBAU’S MOTHER

“The fact that they came, did not surprise me – it was not the first time. Earlier, I received calls from the Investigative Committee and visits by the people from the Criminal Investigation Department. I was more surprised by the fact that they were looking for my son in connection with a crime under Article 206 of the Criminal Code. And this is robbery.”

On 30 October the European Union and the United States temporarily suspended the sanctions against Belarusian officials and senior management of the country. However, the relative improvement in relations between the official Minsk and Brussels did not stop the repressive machine, which continues to put the political undesirables on trial, sack them and exercise political pressure on them.

Vital Babin

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