Journalists Halko and Yarashevich sentenced to arrest
In the evening of 6 May Aliaksandr
Yarashevich, a journalist of the Belarusian service of Radio
"Racyja", and blogger Dzmitry Halko were detained near the
metro station "Mikhalova". At about 8.40 p.m. a bus with
riot policemen stopped near them, the guys were pulled into a car and
taken to Maskouski District Police Department in Minsk.
Halko and Yarashevich were returning from the delinquents' isolation center in Akrestsin Street after meeting the civic activists who had been released from it after serving ten-days arrests for the participation in the "Chernobyl Way" rally.
The police charged the detained journalists with the insubordination to the police. The trial was held on 7 May.
The journalists were taken to the court at 11.45 a.m. Before this, Yarashevich's wife filed a petition to the head of the court, asking to be admitted to the trial.
Dzmitry Halko was defended by a counsel. He was charged under Article 17.1, "disorderly conduct" and Article 23.4, "insubordination to duty official".
The judge interrogated the police witnesses – Novik and the Haroshka brothers.
At 1.40 p.m. Zmitser Halko held a speech. He said that he and Yarashevich had been detained near the metro station "Mikhalova" by five policemen in mufti who hadn't introduced themselves and hadn't told the reasons for the detention. He also said that he hadn't resisted during the detention and that no detention and violation reports had been drawn up on him at the police department.
Policeman Dzmitry Novik said that the detention report existed and that Halko had refused to sign it. The counsel stated that the detention reports, composed by policemen Zharski and Haroshka, were absolutely identical. Novik couldn't explain why it was so. (Radio "Liberty")
On 1.40 – 3.15 p.m. there was a break in the hearings, after which the questioning of witnesses was resumed. The judge prohibited the journalists to use their mobile phones and make audio recordings. There were many corrections in the police reports and the testimonies of the witnesses didn't match the content of these documents.
At 5.10 p.m. policemen Haroshka and Zharski were questioned concerning Aliaksandr Yarashevich's case.
Judge Yauhen Khatkevich sentenced Zmitser Halko to ten days of arrest, finding him guilty of using the obscene language and resistance to the police. Judge Tatsiana Motyl sentenced Aliaksandr Yarashevich to 12 days of arrest under Article 23.34 (insubordination to the police) and 17.1 (disorderly conduct).