Gay activist fined 700,000 rubles for street action
On 11 October the gays and lesbians of the world mark the Coming Out Day – the day when representatives of sexual minorities voluntary reveal their sexual orientation. Belarusian gays and lesbians marked this day by holding a street action in Minsk. Though they had applied for official permission on the eve of the action, the Minsk City Executive Committee didn't sanction the rally.
'It is already the fifth such refusal for me', said one of the organizers of the action, Siarhei Pradzed. The Constitution, international covenants and laws mean nothing to this state'.
Ten representatives of sexual minorities walked with a rainbow flag from the tube station Kupalauskaya to the tube station Niamiha and back. Siarhei Pradzed remained in Kastrychnitskaya Square. He stood there with excerpts from Article 35 of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of peaceful assemblies, and a poster with the word 'Where?' asking where he could exercise his right to such assemblies. He told passers-by about the situation of human rights in Belarus. In about 30 minutes he was approached by riot policemen who asked to explain the reasons of the picket.
The picketer was detained and guarded to the Tsentralny District Police Department of Minsk, where he was presented charges under Article 23.34, part 3 of the Code of Administrative Violations, 'violation of the order of organizing and holding mass actions'. The police searched his belongings and found a certificate of member of the electoral team of Uladzimir Niakliayeu and leaflets 'Say NO to Death Penalty'. Mr. Pradzed refused to answer any questions about these things and asked to be provided with a lawyer, but received a refusal.
After the interrogation he was taken to the delinquents' isolation center in Akrestsin Street, where he spent the night. In the morning he was tried by the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk and fined 700,000 rubles (about $233).