Zmitser Khvedaruk gets 10 days of jail for celebrating Day of Europe

2008 2008-05-27T21:19:19+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

12 May Zmitser Khvedaruk, one of the leaders of the Young Front, was sentenced in absentia to 10 days of arrest for participation in the action on 1 May, the Day of Europe. Besides, he must pay a fine of 1 050 000 rubles (about 493 US dollars) for allegedly resistance to the police during the detention. He was informed about the verdict only on 23 May.

‘Thus, I wasn’t even given time for appealing against the unlawful sentence’, Zmitser Khvedaruk told to the Young Front press service. ‘It’s interesting to note that the judicial decision says I received a summons and even signed it. But I, as other participants of the action on 1 May, didn’t receive any summons and didn’t sign anything. It is lies.’

Zmitser Khvedaruk was accused of ‘staying near the library with a blue flag with yellow stars, by these action calling citizens to join the European Union’. A police report of ‘resistance’ notes that ‘when the police officers came up to Zmitser Khvedaruk, he fell to the ground, and they had to use force.’

It should be reminded that activists of the campaign European Belarus raised up EU flags during the celebration of the Day of Europe near the National Library, after that they (about 30 people) were detained by the riot police. During the detention, the policemen snatched away flags, broke flagpoles and beat people.

Reports for ‘violation of the rules for holding mass events’ were drawn up in the Pershamaiski district police department against the youth activists Yauhen Afnahel, Zmitser Dashkevich, Arthur Finkevich, Zmitser Khvedaruk, Maxim Serhiyets and Paval Yukhnevich. Most of the young men were sentenced to 7-day arrests in absentia.

Earlier Mikola Statkevich, one of the action organizers and one of the leaders of the European Belarus campaign, served a 15-day arrest for participation in the action near the National Library.

RFE/RL notes that legislative rules forbid the delivery of judgment on the articles of the law on mass events in the absence of defendant.