13 PROTESTERS SENTENCED IN VITEBSK
The protest action took place on March 20. The police detained 15 action participants. The trials lasted for 11 hours – from 10 a.m. to 21 p.m. 13 protesters were found guilty and received either fines or terms in jail.
The trials were to be held in Kastrychnitski court of Vitebsk. However, for unknown reasons they were conducted in Kastrychnitski police station. Judge Valantsina Mikhasiova refused to let “strangers” (including family members and reporters) in.
Christafor Zhelapau, head of Milinkevich Vitebsk headquarters, was the only one whose demands to have reporters present during his trial were satisfied.
Zhelapau was charged with organization of an unauthorized action. The charge was supported by police witnesses. The judge ignored the fact that Zhelapau had been detained before the action began and sentenced him to 10 days in jail.
The other detained who were found guilty of participation in an unauthorized rally received less.
Uladzimir Idzelchyk, Uladzislau Tokarau, Zmitser Petrachenka, and Kastus Perahud were sentenced to 5 days of jail.
Sviatlana Idzelchyk, Alena Famina, Artsiom Khadyka, and to students of the Veterinary Academy, who just turned 18 – Katsiaryna Fakhardzinava and Maria Zviarynskaya – were fined around USD 300 each. Despite assurances of police that all women will be released until the trial these two girls had to spend the night in jail.
Among the detained participants of the action was Iryna Piatrova, 15, a 9th grader of Vitebsk linguistic gymnasia # 2. Her father Leanid Piatrou who came to pick up Iryna from the police station was charged with neglect of his parental duties.
Iryna says her class master invited her to a conversation about her behavior.
Siarhei Beliazaka, who sang songs and played guitar for the people present at the action, was fined 1 basic unit – around 15 USD.
Judhe Valiantsina Mikhasiova heard the cases of all the detained besides Alaksei Haurutsikau, an activist of Milinkevich’s HQ. He will be tried on March 23. Now the opposition member is awaiting the trial in jail. According to police he was charged with disorderly conduct. We still don’t know, what exactly he was accused of.
Major Alaksei Shakhovich, head of district public security police, several times warned the people who came to support their colleagues that every protest action would lead to arrests of its participants.