At least five people to stand trial for attempting to mourn man who died suspicious death in Minsk jail
At least five people who were arrested in Minsk on Saturday for
attempting to publicly mourn a young man will stand trial on September
The people were grabbed by police as they were heading to the detention center on Valadarskaha Street where Ihar Ptsichkin, 21, died a suspicious death in August. They had planned to observe a minute’s silence and leave flowers and lit candles outside the jail.
Among those arrested was Mr. Ptsichkin’s heavily pregnant sister, Iryna Miranovich. She was charged with a civil offense but was released later that day. The young woman is to appear in the Tsentralny District Court to answer the charge on September 16. There were fears that the other arrested mourners could remain in custody pending their trials on Monday.
Three reporters who were apprehended together with the mourners - Aleh Hruzdzilovich of the Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Nasha Niva newspaper’s correspondents Iryna Arakhowskaya and Hanna Badzyaka - were released three hours after the arrest.
Andrey Bandarenka, leader of a rights group called Platform Innovation, was also arrested not far away from the detention center. The activist was brought to the Maskowski district police station but was released late on Saturday. He could not be reached for comment on Sunday morning.
Mr. Ptsichkin, 21, died in early August a few days after being placed in the jail to serve a three-month term for driving a vehicle despite the suspension of his license.
A jail officer told the family of Mr. Ptsichkin that he had died of a heart attack, but the relatives are certain that he was beaten to death.
In posthumous photographs posted on the website of Platform Innovation, extensive bruises can be clearly seen on Mr. Ptsichkin’s forearms, wrists and ribs and so can wounds under his knee.
Mr. Ptsichkin’s relatives are pushing for an inquiry into the death.