Navumau’s threat to launch 50 criminal cases against action participants slowly coming true
The human rights center “Viasna” found out, investigation department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs started interrogating suspects on the criminal case under Article 342 of the Criminal Code “organization or active participation in group actions that seriously violate the public order”. The criminal case was instigated after the rally and march of entrepreneurs that took place on January 10th in Minsk. According to our information, 12 people are suspected. Today three of the suspected – Uladzimir Siarheyeu, Ales Straltsou, and Mikhas Kryvau -- were summoned to investigation department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for interrogation.
Human rights defender lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich comments on the situation:
Despite the steps made by the authorities and release of some political prisoners, the politically-motivated persecution does not stop in Belarus.
We also know of criminal charges of “malicious hooliganism” against three opposition activists who took part in the European March on October 14th. Now the investigation department has started preliminary investigation on the criminal case launched on the fact of entrepreneurs’ rally in Minsk on January 10th. The criminal case is launched under Article 342 of the Criminal Code “organization or active participation in group actions that seriously violate the public order”. Now we know that the list of the individuals who are to be interrogated as suspects has 12 names. Today three of them were summoned. Besides that, youth activist Andrei Kim is placed in pre-trial detention center in Valadarskaha Street for participation in a peace rally. As a result, we have 16 criminal cases as of today.
The police also continue investigation under Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code, charging expelled student of Polatsak University Katsiaryna Salauyova with activities on behalf of unregistered organization – Young Front. The materials of the case will be sent to court soon.
There are three similar criminal cases in Homel region. Just recently we received information that the criminal case against Andrus Tsianiuta from Homel was suspended. Most probably, the other two – against Arsen Yahorchanka from Svetlahorsk and Kiryl Atamanchyk from Zhlobin – are suspended as well. However, that does not mean that the charges are dropped: the cases have already been suspended and again renewed earlier.
We see that at present moment the Belarusian authorities do not decrease the criminal persecution of civic and political activists. In fact, the numbers are the same as we had last year. We, the human rights defenders, are deeply concerned with this new round of the politically-motivated criminal persecution.