Minsk: ‘Protest candidates’ tried and fined

On May 20, nine so called protest candidates are being tried in Tsentralny district court of Minsk.

According to the human rights centre Viasna, the court has imposed fines on Volha Krauchanka (135 rubles), Uladzimir Nyaumyarzhytski (1,350 Belarusian rubles), Tamara Patotskaya (1,080 rubles), Anzhalika Zhalyaznyakova (1,215 rubles), Yuliya Lemekhava (675 rubles).

Artsyom Babok has been sentenced to 7 days in prison. Another three detainees are to stand before court.

On May 19, former political prisoner and 2010 presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich told Belsat that a group of his associates (‘protest candidates’) who were filing a complaint to the Supreme Court had been detained in Minsk. The detention took place right in the Supreme Court building.

Thirty presidential candidates and mass protests: Statkevich announced his plans for election campaign

On the same day, Belarus’ Central Election Commission (CEC) denied registration to nearly 30 supporters of Statkevich (‘protest candidates’). The reasons for rejection are the lack of passport data of the initiative groups’members; the fact that the interviewed members did not know their candidates; a person’s being a member of several initiative groups, etc.

Earlier, Mikalai Statkevich and his team announced the intention to use the election campaign for holding street rallies in order to ‘provide Belarusians with the opportunity to legally protest against the incumbent leadership’.

Over the last week, the CEC have registered 15 of 55 initiative groups. To officially become a presidential candidate, a contender must get 100,000 signatures for his/her nomination. The initiative groups are to be engaged in collecting signatures from May, 21 to June, 19. The names of the candidates will be announced in mid July, and the election will be held on August, 9.

Curtain rises: 15 wannabe presidential candidates to start collecting signatures