‘Case of 14’: personal restraint or home arrest?

2008 2008-09-04T20:31:15+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

This year 14 persons were accused of organization of mass riot at the protest action of entrepreneurs which was held on 21 January. One of them, Andrei Kim, was also accused of threatening with violence to a policeman and was sentenced to 1,5 years of jail. Two more, Anton Koipish and Uladzimir Siarheyeu, were punished with fines. One person remains abroad and therefore still has not received any punishment. The rest of the 14 were sentenced to different terms of personal restraint.

Now the latter persons have to come to the police for registration in order to serve their terms. The rules of personal restraint which were defined for them are close to home arrest. Today one of the convicts, Ales Straltsou, paid a visit to Tsentralny district police department of Minsk. There he was given a number of papers in which the details of personal restraint were described.

In his interview to RFE/RL Mr. Straltsou said: ‘In practice it means that I cannot pay visits to the apartments of other persons. I could not visit exhibitions or any other cultural or mass events, let alone political ones. I cannot resign from work on my own will. In case I have no job (and at present I don’t have any) I must find it within 15 days or I will be ordered where to work and would not have an opportunity to refuse.

I have only one hour for shopping or any other private affairs outdoors. I cannot leave my settlement without permission. There are also about ten other points. In fact, it is home arrest.’

An entrepreneur Mikhail Subach received these papers on 2 September. ‘Of course, I don’t take the blame. What concerns the conditions in which I will have to serve the punishment, even my friend came to me and asked whether I had the right to go to the market. I don’t know it well enough now and will have to ask about it. My relatives treated it calmly, as they have already got used to it a bit,’ Subach commented.

The police also called to Ales Charnyshou several times and threatened to forcedly guard him to the police department. ‘Today I have received one more call from Tsentrlany district police department of Minsk. I agreed to come to them on Monday and get registered,’ said the activist.

In case the convicts twice violate the rules of personal restraint, they can be sent to jail. They have already appealed to Minsk city court against the verdict to them, but the court left it unchanged. The last instance is the Supreme Court, but nobody believes that the verdict will be changed by it.