Human rights activists are calling for the release of Artsyom Mitsuka, Alyaksandr Drazdou, Ryhor Hunko, David Zbaranski, Mark Antonau, Ihar Rudchyk and Uladzislau Zyanevich, spring96.org reports.
Artsyom Mitsuka, Alyaksandr Drazdou, Ryhor Hunko, David Zbaranski, Mark Antonau, Ihar Rudchyk were charged under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code (riots), and Uladzislau Zyanevich under Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code (group actions grossly violating public order). Human rights defenders consider the persecution of these people to be politically motivated and recognize them as political prisoners. Now there are 167 political prisoners in Belarus.
All seven are under prosecution for the August protests, which is why human rights defenders refer to their earlier statement of August 10.
This statement emphasizes that the post-election protests were spontaneous, self-organized and caused by distrust to the outcome of the presidential elections, which were held with numerous violations and falsifications.
“The gatherings of citizens were peaceful and did not pose a threat to either national or public security. Despite this, the demonstrators were attacked by the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with disproportionate use of physical force, special equipment and weapons.”
According to human rights activists, the demonstrators did not commit any actions that could be qualified as mass riots: the protesters did not commit arson, pogroms, did not destroy property and did not provide armed resistance by the security forces.
“Certain cases of violent actions against police officers by demonstrators require separate legal qualifications, taking into account the context and circumstances of the use of violence, including in the context of self-defense against deliberately disproportionate actions of police officers,” the statement says.