Fined for action in support of Belarusian language

2009 2009-03-04T18:11:32+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The court of Tsentralny district of Homel has fined participants of the rally in support of the native language 525 000 rubles ($185).

Judge Alena Tsalkova has found that Homel dweller Andrei Papou was a participant of an unsanctioned event.

Today Papou has admitted that he had taken part in the rally on the International Native Language Day on 21 February. As said by the young man, he was sure that the rally was held under the law.

‘I was convinced in my guesses that the rally wasn’t against the law when a policeman approached us and warned that we shouldn’t make illegal actions. But were not doing anything illegal,’ Andrei Papou said.

On 21 February, the International National Language Day young people were walking along Savetskaya Street in order to lay flowers to the monument of Kiryl of Turau. Beside carnations, they had sheets of paper with the words ‘Mother tongue’ and the stamp ‘Prohibited’ in their hands. The mouths of the participants of the rally were gagged with red-green ribbons.

Policemen detained 7 activists and two independent journalists, Aleh Razhkou and Zmitser Karmazin. They were taken to the police department of Tsentralny district of Minsk and held there for about 6 hours. An administrative report was drawn up against them for ‘violation of the order of holding mass events’ under Article 23.34 Part 1 of the Administrative Code.

Earlier the court punished four participants of the rally in defense of the native language with huge fines, and an activist Kanstantsin Zhukouski was sentenced for participation in the picket to 7 days of arrest.