Election-related Arrests and Detentions Continue
On 11 January in Pruzhany the police detained a UCP member Uladzimir Radzivonchyk. They took him to a police station though he was saying he felt bad. Then they had to call an ambulance. After medical examination Mr. Radzivonchyk was taken back to the police station and then to a court. He demanded a lawyer. As a result the trial was postponed to 12 January. At the trial the police witnesses accused Uladzimir Radzivonchyk of insulting a person with foul language in a public place (article 156 of the Administrative Code, petty hooliganism). Mr. Radzivonchyk tried to prove that he didn’t even know the mentioned person, but judge Alena Lahoda paid more attention to the police testimonies and sentenced him to 5 days of jail.
On 11 January Vitsebsk Pershamaiski borough court tried a public activist Barys Khamaida. Judge Halina Blakhina sentenced him to 4 days of jail for ‘petty hooliganism’ (article 156).
In the evening of 11 January not far from the village of Belitsa on Minsk-Homel highway the traffic police detained a car by which the chair of Zhlobind district branch of the Party of Communists of Belarus Valery Rybchanka and a member of the party Viktar Baliankou were transporting to Homel regiona about 5 000 copies of Tovarishch newspaper. The policemen ordered them to drive to Homel district police department. There the car was searched. After 2 hours and 20 minutes of detention Rybchanka and Baliankou were released. The newspapers weren’t confiscated and the police drew no reports on them. Nevertheless, the PCB activists intend to appeal these actions of traffic police.
In the morning of 12 January people in mufti detained a candidate to deputy position, member of the BPF Party Aliaksandr Ramanovich. Only several hours later did his mother find out he was in a police station. This day Pinsk residents expected Aliaksandr Milinkevich’s arrival to Ramanovich’s meeting with the electorate.
In the evening of 12 January Mr. Ramanovich was tried and sentenced to 5 days, again for ‘petty hooliganism’. Despite all this, Aliaksandr Milinkevich managed to meet with Pinsk habitants.
On 11 January in Barysau an unknown person tried to provoke a fight with participation of Siarhei Salash, a member of the BPF party and proxy to a candidate to Minsk regional deputy soviet Dzmitry Babitski. During the agitation campaign Mr. Salash actively participated in distribution of information about Dzmitry Babitski, the BPF Party and the oil-gas conflict between Russia and Belarus.
At 10 a.m. on 12 January Barysau city court started a trial of Siarhei Salash that lasted till the end of the working day. At 6 p.m. the judge Iu. Kobets read the verdict. Public defenders and journalists weren’t admitted to this stage of the trial. Siarhei Salash was found guilty of having used foul expressions and punished with 5 days of jail under the same article 156 of the Administrative Code.
On 12 January in the center of Minsk people in mufti abducted Andrei Dzmitryieu, chair of Minsk Maskouski borough branch of the United Civil Party.
According to the UPC press-service, after the abduction the party decided to sent official notes about it to 5 state organs, Minsk city KGB office, Minsk city prosecutor’s office, Minsk Partyzanski borough police department, Minsk district prosecutor’s office and Minsk city prosecutor’s office, because all six witnesses of the abduction remembered the number of the car: 89-12 BT7. Nevertheless, Minsk city prosecutor’s office and Minsk Partyzanski police department refused to tell their fax numbers. Deputy chair of Minsk Partyzanski police department, lieutenant-colonel S.Baradzin refused rudely. Then the UCP chair Anatol Liabedzka and other members of the organization went to Minsk Partyzanski borough police department. However, the duty policeman didn’t inform them about the location of Mr. Dzmitryieu and told them to return to the place of the incident instead. By a lucky chance Mr. Liabedzka saw Dzmitryieu through a window of the police check-point. Later it was found that Andrei Dzmitryieu was accused of petty hooliganism (article 156) and taken to the detention center in Akrestsin Street till trial.
The UCP members filed a complaint with Minsk Partyzanski borough police department, seeking punishment for the duty officer, senior lieutenant V.Palevikou for non-provision of detailed information about the person, though the police department received a written application about abduction. They also ask to punish those who conducted the abduction.
On 12 January Hrodna Leninski borough court considered an administrative case against Andrei Famin, a proxy to a candidate to deputy position, member of the BPF Party Valery Kisel. The police accused Mr. Famin of petty hooliganism as well and the court sentenced him to 5 days of jail.
In the evening of 12 January in Hrodna the police detained a member of the Union of Poles in Belarus Stanislau Pachobut on his way home. The policeman stated he reminded of a man who stole a car and took him to Hrodna district police department for identification. After this they took him to Hrodna Leninski borough police department and drew a report for petty hooliganism (article 156). Then Mr. Pachobut was taken to a temporary isolator to be kept there till trial.
Approximately at the same time at Hrodna railway station the police detained Iauhen Skrabutan, who studies in Warsaw University on K.Kalinouski program (opened for Belarusian activists who were expelled from high schools for political reasons). He just came to Belarus from Poland. The police checked his passport and said it was invalid. Together with Mr. Skrabutan they detained Volha Smalianchuk and took both of them to Hrodna Leninski police department.
This very evening the police also detained for conducting long-term monitoring at a polling station a member of the BPF Party Mikalai Lemianouski. Now he is awaiting trial at a police station as Belarusian courts don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays.
In the evening of 13 January the police detained a member of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Pavel Levinau near his house. The police prohibited to him talking on the mobile. He was taken to Vitsebsk Pershamaiski police department. At first the police accused him of distributing leaflets. Later, at the police department, a report under article 156 was composed.
Pavel’s friends came to the police department to support him. While they were waiting for the decision of the police somebody let out the air out of the tires of an independent journalist Vadzim Barshcheuski. The car stood near the police office, and traffic policemen kept their duty nearby.
Pavel Levinau intended to run for Vitsebsk city deputy soviet and Vitsebsk regional deputy soviet, but wasn’t registered. His appeals to court gave no result. These days he has given legal aid to a journalist Valery Shchukin, against whom a criminal case was brought on complaint of members of election commission #52 of Pershamaiski borough of Vitsebsk. The commission members took as a personal offence the self-made leaflets which Mr. Shchukin distributed among the electors.
On 12 January Mr. Shchukin was detained at polling station #52 where he was present as an observer nominated by Belarusian Helsinki Committee and a journalist of Narodnaia volia non-state newspaper for ‘not coming to Vitsebsk Pershamaiski borough police department despite receiving a call-up paper’. The matter is that in the middle of December 2006 the police department brought a criminal case against him under article 189 part 2 of the Criminal Code. Mr. Shchukin is accused of distribution of fly-sheets with insults of members of election commission #52.
However, on 11 January Valery Shchukin came to the police department and had a talk with the investigator. Nevertheless, on 12 January he was forcedly taken there again. He was deprived of the right to use legal aid provided by a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee in Vitsebsk region Pavel Levinau. Instead the police proposed to him a duty lawyer. After 4-hour interrogation Mr. Shukin received a call-up for 17 January and went away.
On 14 January in Kalinkavichy traffic police detained and searched a car with Estonian journalists and a candidate to a regional deputy soviet, UCP member Aliaksei Manevich. Mr. Manevich explained to the policemen that the journalists were making a TV-report about the election in Belarus. The police asked them to show the documents and then let them go.