Tsentralny Borough Court of Minsk continues to try two activists of the Belarusian democratic opposition Mikola Statkievich and Paval Sieviaryniets
Judge Iasinovich and Procurator Pazniak will appear for the state in court.
The Belarusian oppositionists are accused of violating Article 342 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Belarus, which provides punishment for "organization of group actions that violate the public order" of up to three years in prison. They are accused of "preliminarily agreed actions conducted by a group of people", namely: on 18 October 2004 after the elections and the republican referendum they organized mass disorders by "leading the procession and setting an example for the other participants who followed them".
Before the court Paval Sieviaryniets said that a "fair court in Belarus today in the current political regime is, unfortunately, impossible". Mikola Statkievich made a still harsher statement, saying that this trial is completely politically motivated and is revenge of the authorities for the resistance provided by the Belarusian opposition during the referendum, and the planned nomination of M.Statkievich as a presidential candidate during the presidential elections of 2006. After this he refused to rise in court, or testify or give any other information. Also, M.Statkievich refused legal assistance. He refused the proposition of the state-appointed lawyer Ms Boika to appear for him in court.
Nonetheless, Judge Iasinovich, notwithstanding the refusal from the suspects, turned down their lack of confidence and started the proceedings.
The trial is in a small courtroom. So, not all journalists and common people who wanted attend the trial could be there.
Today, P.Sieviaryniets gave evidence in the case. Tomorrow the proceedings will continue.