Another oppositionist, Syarhei Kavalenka’s friend, arrested in Vitsebsk

2010 2010-01-28T18:32:01+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Aleh Surhan, accused of disobedience to militia during detention for hanging out a national flag, was detained by officers of the Kastrychnitski district militia department of Vitsebsk on January 27.

The incident, which will be considered by court, took place on September 3, 2009. Aleh Surhan and his younger brother Taras Surhan were detained by militiamen at a bus stop near the medical university, where a national white-red-white flag was hung out,” Radio Svaboda reminds.

Taras Surhan and Syarhei Kavalenka, against whom a criminal case was instigated for hanging out a national flag at the city Christmas tree, were detained and tried over numerous actions with national symbols.

42-year-old Aleh Surhan joined the company of activists for the first time on September 3. Militiamen detained him and wrote in a report he had disobeyed militia officers and had bitten a finger of one of them.

According to Aleh Surhan, the first report on hanging out the whit-red-white flags disappeared. The second one said he had been drunk in public, used obscene language, insulted militiamen.

Aleh Surhan also claims he was beaten and tortured in the militia department on September 3. Taras Surhan called for emergency ambulance when he saw his brothers. Medical workers recorded head injury and bruises on arms.

The militiaman, who has Surhan had bitten his finger, underwent medical examination a month later – on September 30. Aleh Surhan was at large until the trial.

We remind that on January 7 a national white-red-white flag was hung out at the top of the 35-meter New Year’s Tree at Victory square in Vitsebsk. Syarhei Kavalenka, 34, was detained near the tree. On January 10, he was thrown into a temporary detention facility for two months on a decision of the prosecutor of Vitsebsk. A case under article 339, part 2 of the Criminal Code (repeated hooliganism, or committed by a group of persons, or connected with committing less serious bodily harm) was instigated against him. Under this article a punishment could be up to 6 years of imprisonment. On January 12 the oppositionist was released with a written undertaking not to leave the place.

After that incident, arrests and searches in oppositionists’ houses started. On January 13, militiamen searched an apartment of Syarhei Serabro, the editor of the internet newspaper “Popular news of Vitsebsk”. Two computer cases were seized.