The Minsk police has made a clumsy attempt to explain what happened to tut.by journalist Pavel Dabravolski in Frunzenski district court of Minsk while he was covering the ‘graffiti case’.
According to the press service of the Minsk police, when two activists, Pavel Syarhei and Maxim Shytsikau, held a rally of solidarity with the defendants, the judge issued a warning, but the both failed to obey and stop it. Then, ‘according to the judge’s instructions’, a policeman offered the citizens to leave the courtroom.
The activists were resisting, the police officers state, and that is why they had to appeal to force.
As far as journalist Pavel Dabravolski is concerned, according to the police statement, he ‘entered the office where the violators of law and order were kept, prevented police officers from committing legitimate actions and failed to respond to their warnings and demands to stop illegal actions’.
At the same time. the police is tight-lipped about the beating of the journalist. Pavel Dabravolski said that several riot police officers beat him with their feet for 20 minutes, paying no attention to his journalist ID. According to Dabravolski, they seized his phone and erased all the data.
After the detained activists and journalists were beaten in one of the premises of the court, they were taken to the police station, where an administrative report under article ‘contempt of court’ and ‘disobeying the official’ were filed against them.
Later Syarhei, Shytsikau and Dabravolski were taken back to court. The first of them was fined 10.5 million rubles, the rest – 9.45 million. This decision was passed by judge Maryia Yarokhina, with police officer Syarhei Kavalchuk as witness.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) is outraged by the fact that its member, journalist Pavel Dabravolski was beaten in the ccourt building while performing professional duties. Such barbaric actions discredit Belarusian authorities, the Association says. The BAJ demands holding an investigation into the fact of beating the journalist, and bring those guilty to justice.