Opponents of integration with Russia receive heavy fines

In Minsk and other cities, repressions against participants of rallies in defense of the independence of Belarus continue. On January 8, court hearings were held in Pinsk and en masse in the capital. All participants were given heavy fines.

The local court system returned to its business as usual. Within the next three days, the Belarusian courts will hear about 50 administrative cases of the December protests against the integration with Russia. In Minsk, a number of activists were punished with new fines in Maskouski district court.

Alena Tolstaya, co-chair of the Solidarity Movement “Razam”, was fined 1,350 rubles again. The court ruled in her absence. For the woman, this is the second penalty for participation in rallies for the independence of Belarus. In December, she was fined 50 basic units and sent to a temporary detention center for 5 days — to a cell with poor sanitation, where the temperature did not exceed 15 degrees Celsius.

On December 20, activists of “Youth Bloc” Mikhail Varantsou and Alana Gebremariam were tried for participation in the rally. Varantsou was fined 810 BYN.

Viktar Savich and Syarhei Antonchyk, who didn’t come to the hearing, were fined 675 BYN and 810 BYN, respectively. Member of the Union of Belarusian Writers Mikalai Trafimchuk was fined 540 BYN in his absence. Priest Leanid Akulovich, as well as Maryna and Vyachaslau Kasineravy received a fine of 810 BYN each. The couple ignored the hearing, while Vyachaslau defiantly tore the minutes in front of the court building.

On December 20, former deputy of the city council Mikalai Mikhalevich was fined 270 BYN for the picket in defense of independence of Belarus in Pinsk. There was also a hearing involving the activist Dzmitry Tarasyuk, but the announcement of the decision was postponed until tomorrow.

Mass trials against of the activists are an instrument of intimidation of citizens, used by the authorities to control the situation in the country, said lawyer of the Human Rights Centre Viasna Valyantsin Stefanovich.

The trials will last two more days. More than 30 trials will be held in seven courts in Minsk and several in Pinsk on January 9.

Yulia Labanava, belsat.eu