Homel: trials of conscientious objectors resumed
On 12 May the Tsentralny District Court of Homel resumed the consideration of the administrative cases against a Jehovah’s Witness Dzmitry Smyk and Yauhen Yakavenka, an activist of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party. Both of them are charged with evasion from military service.
The trials of Smyk and Yakavenka started simultaneously at two different halls. It is the repeated consideration of the cases against the youngsters who asked to be assigned to an alternative civilian service. Dzmitry Smyk objects to military service on religious grounds, whereas Yakavenka refuses to serve as the military enlistment office doesn’t speak Belarusian with him and he has no opportunity to serve in a Belarusian-language military unit.
The last sitting on Yakavenka’s case was scheduled for 19 May, whereas the trial of Dzmitry Smyk will last till 25 May.
Bear in mind, that On 4 May the Minsk District Court acquitted another believer, Ivan Mikhailau, of evasion from military service. Human rights defenders hope it is a good sign and Smyk and Yakavenka will be justified as well.