Russian nuclear physicist got 7 days of arrest in Belarus for criticizing plans on construction of NPP there

2009 2009-10-12T22:29:12+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Russian nuclear physicist Andrey Ozharovsky was detained in the town of Astravets where he arrived to take part in public consultations.

The public consultations on 9 October focused on a preliminary report on environmental impact assessment of the Belarusian nuclear plant.

The coordinator of Ecodefense ecological group based in Moscow was guarded to a local police department before beginning of the consultations. He was seized 94 copies of printed materials titled Critical Opinions on the Preliminary Report on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Belarusian Nuclear Plant.

According to Ozharovsky, he wasn’t spreading the printed materials during the detention. ‘I have them in a package, I planned to hand them out during the consultation’, the ecological activist told in an interview to BelaPAN. ‘Police officers in mufti and a man Svirid, who introduced himself as an officer of the board of directors of the nuclear plant, came up to me and  told he banned me to bring critical reviews of the nuclear plant construction in the room’.

As a result the court of the Astravets district of the Hrodna region accused Andrei Ozharovsky of hooliganism and sentenced him to 7 days of arrest on 9 October.

There were seven witnesses for prosecution, among them five officers of the law-enforcement agencies and two volunteers, and three witnesses for defense at the trial.

According to the court decision, the witnesses for prosecution said that during the consolation on environmental impact assessment in the concert hall in the center of Astravets, Ozharovsky ‘demonstrated provoking behavior towards the people nearby and officials. He threw a package with printed materials and tried to burst into the hall, but his disruptive behavior was stopped.’ The court thinks ‘the public order was violated, the offender behaved in a rude manner for a long time – about 15–20 minutes’. The court didn’t doubt in ‘fairness and reliability’ of the witnesses for prosecution.

‘The intentional actions of the offender could hinder the environmental impact assessment consultation in Astravets and demonstrated disrespect for the society’, the court verdict says.

The court decided that ‘this person must get administrative arrest with the aim of correcting the individual and preventing him and other persons of committing new offences in the nearest time’.

As reported, many independent ecological and human rights organizations weren’t allowed to visit the so called public consultations, held yesterday in Astravets. The hall was filled with workers of local plants. They got flags and posters agitating for the construction of the nuclear power plant. The hall, where the consultation took place, was cordoned off by riot police.

The Russian MFA passed a protest note to the Belarusian authorities only on 12 October. The nuclear power station will have a Russian reactor.