Hrodna: human rights defenders get fined 4.5 million rubles for a photo on the web
On 5 January the Leninski District
Court of Hrodna considered administrative cases against the Hrodna
human rights activists Uladzimir Khilmanovich, Viktar Sazonau and
Their "guilt" was that they had photographed themselves with portraits of Ales Bialiatski and brochures of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, the Human Rights Day.
The Hrodna police considered it as an unauthorized picket. On 18 December they drew up "reports of questioning" on the activists, and on 19 December they were familiarized with "accusation reports". All three cases were amalgamated in one court process, led by the judge Vital Liatsko. The trial lasted for about 2.5 hours. No evidence of guilt was presented, no witnesses were summonsed – the whole accusation was grounded only on the police reports and insinuations.
The judge delivered the verdict without announcing a break. Each of the activists was fined 1.5 million rubles, which gives a total of 4.5 million rubles – a record fine for a photo in the Internet!