Salihorsk: Criminal Trial over Ivan Shyla Is Accompanied with Detentions and Imprisonments
On 4 September trials over the Young Front activists Ivan Shyla and Nasta Azarka took place in Salihorsk and Niasvizh. The activists were charged under article 193.1 of the Criminal Code (activities on behalf of unregistered organization). Dozens of people gathered near the courts to support the youth activists.
The courts were cordoned off by riot police. In Salihorsk the court hall was occupied by social pedagogues. Almost no seats were left for the interested people who wanted to attend the trial. The judge ordered all who had no place to seat to leave the trial. Before the trial the traffic police stopped the car of the human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich, who was going to the trial together with representatives of Amnesty International and Swedish Helsinki Committee. The policemen escorted them to the police station and put down their passport data. Only then the human rights activists were let to go to the court. The trial was also attended by the US ambassador, the chair of the Belarusian People’s Front Vintsuk Viachorka, the chair of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka, a political activist Viachaslau Siuchyk, a lawyer Liudmila Hraznova, the chair of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party Pavel Seviarynets, a human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, other public and political activists and journalists.
During the trial youth activists lined up opposite the court and unrolled two large transparencies: ‘It is not 1937’ and ‘You can’t stop Young Front!’. They sang songs and chanted slogans.
The riot policemen who had come from Minsk detained about 15 people. Among the detainees there were Liudmila Atakulava, Tatsiana Bulanava, Viktar Dzenisenka, Katsiaryna Halitskaya, Ales Kalita, Zmitser Karnou, Zmitser Khvedaruk, Katsiaryna Krasnova, Illia Shyla (Ivan Shyla’s brother), Andrei Tychyna, Franak Viachorka and Zmitser Yasevich.
The riot police beat the activists during the detentions and while transporting them to the local police department on their bus. During the detention they injured a finger to Tatsiana Bulanava. An ambulance was called for her. The policemen convoyed the girl to a hospital, where the finger was X-rayed.
At the police station reports on administrative violations were composed against six detainees.
At about 6.20 p.m. on 4 September the court read the verdict to 16-year-old Ivan Shyla: to find him guilty without any penalty. That’s what the prosecutor demanded for him. After the trial Ivan went out of the court and called the present people to come to the police station where the detainees were kept.
On 5 September Liudmila Atakulava, Tatsiana Bulanava, Katsiaryna Halitskaya, Ales Kalita, Zmitser Karnou, Zmitser Khvedaruk and Franak Viachorka were tried. All of them were charged under article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of holding mass action).
Dzenisevich, Halitskaya, Karnou and Khvedaruk were fined 155 000 Belarusian rubles (about 72 US dollars), Tatsiana Bulanava – 124 000 Belarusian rubles (about 58 US dollars) and Zmitser Yasevich was warned.
Liudmila Atakulava and Ales Kalita received 7 days of jail. Bear in mind that the chair of the BPF Youth Kalita has already served two arrest terms this year, seven and fifteen days long.