Chronicle of trial over Katsiaryna Salauyova
About 50 persons came to the court of Polatsk today to support Katsiaryna Salauyova, including the leader of the For Freedom movement Alexander Milinkevich, the co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party Pavel Seviarynets, the politicians Mikalai Statkevich and Viachaslau Statkevich, the entrepreneur Alexander Makayeu, the human rights activists Ales Bialiatski and Valiantsin Stefanovich and the advisor of the US Embassy Jonathan Moore.
The police informed the people that there was space only for 15 persons in the court room. Patrols of road police kept duty near Polatsk.
Katsiaryna Salauyova was defended by the lawyer Alexander Haliyeu. The judge Marozava read charges against Salauyova under Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code – activities on behalf of unregistered organization.
10.50 a.m. As no larger room was found, only nine persons were admitted to the trial over Salauyova. Among them there were Alexander Milinkevich, Ina Kulei, Ales Bialiatski and several journalists. Even the defendant’s relatives weren’t let in, though there were some free places in the court room.
11.05 Judge Marozava quoted the diary of Katsiaryna Salauyova, attached to the case materials: ‘… but I will do everything that depends on me to ruin this regime’.
11.15 The authorities tried to occupy the free places with students of Polatsk State University. The provost on ideology Tsyhankou brought about 15 girls to the court room, but the indignant people shamed them, after which the girls escaped.
11.20 In her speech Katsiaryna Salauyova explained to the judge her participation in the underground organization Young Front with her wish to participate in revival of the Belarusian language and culture. She reminded that under this regime the Belarusian language can turn into Latin.
11.26 263 copies of the human rights bulletin Right To Freedom, which was ostensibly distributed by Katsiaryna, were attached to the case materials.
11.36 Before the beginning of the trial the lawyer Alexander Haliyeu read an open letter of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the liquidated Human Rights Center Viasna with condemnation of Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code and demands of a fair trial for the youth activist. The letter was attached to the case.
11.45 The interrogation of witnesses, the girls who lived in the student hostel together with Salauyova, started.
11.55 The guards started letting people in the court building. However, there are still only 11 persons in the court room.
12.10 Judge Marozava started reading the case materials. In the corridor near the court room the people started arguing with a correspondent of the Belarusian TV. They expressed their indignation and accused the state channel in defamation and spreading false rumors. As a result the police had to take the correspondent to a corner in order to prevent any incidents.
Three witnesses, two students and one worker of the student hostel, were interrogated. According to RFE/RL, one of the witnesses said that at the trial she was asked whether she knew that the Young Front was an oppositional organization and whether Katsiaryna agitated her neighbors to join it.
12.50 After a break the prosecutor demanded to fine Salauyova 7 million rubles (about 3 286 US dollars). Outside the court people chanted slogans in support of the defendant. The policemen in uniform and civvies started detaining the most active participants of the spontaneous action in front of the court building.
1.06 p.m. The judge stated that the verdict to Katsiaryna Salauyova would be announced at 5.30 p.m. and declared a break till this time. Five activists sat down on the ground near the court. They were surrounded by riot policemen and youth who tried to protect them and take away to a safe place. A police car arrived. The policemen discussed how to detain the sitting persons, among which one of the Shyla brothers is said to have been. Aliaksei Yanusheuski reported detained.
1.20 The action participants managed to line in a chain, letting the five most active ones get on a car which immediately drove away from the court building. The police failed to detain them.
During the break Katsiaryna Salauyova received a summons for interrogation within the limits of another criminal case against her. She thinks that it can be the criminal case that was brought against her on 29 November for ‘outrage of the state symbols’. The interrogation was appointed on 9 April.
5.30 The court announced the verdict to Katsiaryna Salauyova – 1 750 000 rubles (about 822 US dollars).