Levanewski and Vasilyew Are Tried in Hrodna for Public Insult of Lukashenka
On 27 August there started the criminal trial of the street vendors Valery Levanewski and Aliaksandr Vasilyew. The former is the head of the strike committee of entrepreneurs and the latter is its vice-head. They are charged with distribution of fly-sheets with the poem that allegedly contained insult to president Lukashenka, article 368/2 of the Criminal Code. Vasilyew is also charged with organization of unauthorized meeting on 1 May. Valery Levanewski was taken to court from the investigative isolator where he was kept for almost four months.
The trial was attended by Levanewski’s relatives, several journalists and representatives of Minsk OSCE office. Nevertheless, the building of Hrodna Leninski Borough Court was guarded by many policemen. Despite the fact that the trial was open, journalists were told they wouldn’t be let in because they didn’t file applications to the judge. Finally, the police allowed journalists to attend the trial, but prohibited to take photo cameras with them. As a result, journalists came to the trial half an hour after its beginning.
Valery Levanewski was kept in cage. He had short haircut and beard and was guarded by three armed policemen, who changed every half an hour. At first he moved for confessing Aliaksandr Lukashenka victim on this case so that he could attend the trial, but the judge answered that Aliaksandr Lukashenka was the head of the state and therefore was identified with the state. Then Levanewski solicited for possibility for more detailed familiarization with the case materials and asked one day for it. The petition was satisfied.
Levanewski and Vasilyew didn’t take the blame and asked to specify what lines of the poem was found insulting for Lukashenka.
Levanewski’s wife said: -- I think they have already judged him, but only don’t tell the sentence.