Two opposition activists in Vitsyebsk fined for displaying signs against nuclear power plant project
A district judge in Vitsyebsk on Friday sentenced opposition
activists Yan Dzyarzhawtsaw and Vital Kavalenka to fines for displaying
signs against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus.
Judge Ina Hrabowskaya of the Kastrychnitski District Court imposed fines of two million rubels ($230) each on the activists of the Conservative Christian Party, finding them guilty of acting in violation of regulations governing “mass events,” their associate Ales Halavan wrote on Facebook.
On April 26, the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Messrs. Dzyarzhawtsaw and Kavalenka came to Zamkavaya Street at the center of the city and stood there for a while, holding signs that said, “Only an enemy of Belarus can build a nuclear power plant without the people’s consent!” and “Dictator! Build Astravets and you will reap Chernobyl!”
Judge Hrabowskaya, who is well known in Vitsyebsk for jailing and fining opposition activists, refused to conduct their trial in the Belarusian language. She ignored the fact that the police officers who testified during the hearing as eyewitnesses had not been present at the “unsanctioned demonstration.” The charge sheets against Messrs.
Dzyarzhawtsaw and Kavalenka were drawn up many days after the event, based on photographs on news website charter97.org.
According to Mr. Halavan, one of the witnesses wore a T-shirt featuring the emblem of the Soviet Union and the abbreviation “USSR.”