No Justifications to Participants of Peaceful Manifestations Issued in March
On March 12, 23 and 25 mass detentions of participants of peaceful actions took place. 38 persons were judged. 24 of them were imprisoned, 6 received fined, 8 – warnings.
"At present the tendency is observed that courts make no justifications on the administrative cases and find people guilty even when the facts witness otherwise", -- points the lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich.
On 24 March Minsk Leninski Borough Court considered the administrative cases against the persons, detained on 23 March at the action, devoted to the 85th anniversary of Declaration of Belarusian People's Republic. It's worth mentioning that the police used all means to prevent representatives of public organizations and press from attending the trials. The cases were considered very formally, on the base of the standard police reports, written since 1996 – "went, shouted, whistled, waved arms, cried out "Long Live Belarus!" and "Shame on You!"
Valiantsin Stefanovich says: "The case of Pavel Seviarynets, detained preventively, before the action, at the bus stop near the central postal office of Minsk, is quite interesting. He was detained by persons in civil clothes who showed their documents, said they were from the special police forces and informed him that he was detained as a person, suspected of theft from the nearest shop. The administrative violation report stated: "Actively participated in picketing". At the trial police witnesses testified that around Seviarynets stood the people, he spoke to them and made different gestures, that's why they concluded that he was one of the action organizers. After the detention Pavel Seviarynets was taken to Minsk Maskowski BBIA and then transferred to Leninski BBIA. When Seviarynets asked the "witnesses" where they took him first, they answered it was Leninski BBIA. These weren't the people who really detained the defendant. I, being his representatives, solicited for watching of video materials (the police actively filmed the action). Judge Tserashkova said that she would go to Head of the Court and watch them as he had the only video tape recorder. On her return she said that the cassette submitted by the police was of a rather bad quality and she couldn't see anything there. I stated that the police failed to prove Seviarynets's guilt and asked to stop the case because of the absence of corpus delicti. However, the judge found P. Seviarynets guilty and sentenced him to 10 days of jail. When she considered other cases, the video materials appeared to be of normal quality".
Tatsiana Kavalchuk, lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna": I will stop on the case of the student Natalia Vasilevich, detained for the alleged active participation in the action, shouting "Long Live Belarus!". The policemen who allegedly detained her were summoned to the trial. An interesting thing was found: one of the "witnesses" didn't detain the defendant. N. Vasilevich proved this by presenting to the court the cadres of the videotape, made by the crew of the Russian NTV company. Here the detention is clearly seen. When the policeman was asked whether her recognized himself, he answered that it was not him. The judge ignored this fact and didn’t satisfy the solicitation for summon of additional witnesses and adding of the NTV tape to the case materials. This tape also showed that the detainee wasn't in the place, specified in the police report at the time, mentioned there. Nevertheless, the judge warned the girl"
Yury Chavusaw, lawyer of the Executive Bureau of the Assembly of Belarusian Democratic NGOs: "Even the basic demands of the Civil, Process and Administrative Violations Codes are not executed. Nobody explained to detainees their rights, though it is the thing from which every trial must begin. The court didn't satisfy solicitations for watching the video materials. For instance, Pavel Znavets solicited for it, the solicitation was rejected and he was sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment, though he was detained preventively, before the beginning of the action. Judge Zhdanok refused to listen to the witnesses, who stood at the entrance of the court room. I was P. Znavets's representative and asked the police witness: "Why have you detained this man?". The judge dismissed the question as having no relation to the case. The police reports were standard and had mistakes. For instance, according to the at 12.57 one policeman managed to detain 5 persons and compose reports about it, though it is impossible physically. If somebody solicited for advocate, Judge threatened: "We'll take you to the detention center for three days. Think whether you need an advocate!" What a good behavior for a judge! Then they of course, provided advocates, but the judgments to those people were more severe. The solicitations weren't satisfied, Judge said: "You only want to protract the case consideration with your solicitations". The judges evidently received the order to consider all cases for one day.
Prepared by Palina Stsepanenka