Police Spoil Ivashkevich’s Birthday
On 2 October in El-Pomidoro restaurant in Minsk political activists celebrated the 48th birthday of the deputy chair of the Belarusian People’s Front Viktar Ivashkevich.
Viktar Ivashkevich and an activist of the Party of Communists of Belarus Valery Ukhnaliou were detained by the riot policemen in camouflage, who were waiting at the entrance of the restaurant. According to witnesses, the detention was conducted by almost a platoon of policemen.
The detainees were taken on a bus and driven to the sobering-up center of Partyzanski district of Minsk. There the policemen videoed the politicians despite their protests. They also demanded from Ivashkevich and Ukhnaliou to undress, but received a flat refusal.
During the search of Ivashkevich’s belongings the policemen found a sheave of small leaflets with invitations to the European march. Then they drew on him a report for violation of article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. ‘At 9.20 on 25 September Ivashkevich distributed the leaflets at the sobering-up station, thus violating the established order of holding mass actions.’
In his explanation Ivashkevich wrote that he did not distribute any leaflets, but only took them out of his bag on demand of the policemen. The police also composed on Ivashkevich and Ukhnaliou reports for public drunkenness (article 17.3 of the Administrative Code).
Oppositional politicians, journalists, lawyers and Ukhnaliou’s relatives came to the sobering-up station almost immediately. After long talks Ukhnaliou was released.
The following day Viktar Ivashkevich was tried. The judge found some mismatches in the police reports and directed them for correction. The politician was released from custody.
Last week the police continued preventive detentions of democratic activists for leaflets with invitations to the European march and drew on them reports for ‘petty hooliganism’. The story of Leanid Navitski, who was sentenced to 10 days of jail, is especially interesting. In the police report it was written that he ‘swore dirtily and waved his hands at Partyzanski district police department of Minsk’. ‘Look, one must be insane to swear at the police and pay no reaction to their remarks. I even pity these police witnesses. They look like normal people, but have to lie when executing the orders,’ commented Navitski before the imprisonment.