Blogger in Babruisk faces four criminal charges

2014 2014-02-20T16:27:48+0300 2014-02-20T16:27:48+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Civil society activist Aleh Zhalnou

Civil society activist Aleh Zhalnou

The confrontation of blogger Aleh Zhalnou and police is still underway in Babruisk. Over the past year, the blogger has faced 14 cases: one civil, nine administrative, and four criminal charges. Another criminal case was opened against Aleh’s son, Aliaksei. In certain cases, lawsuits have already reached the court, but most trials are yet to start in Babruisk.

“Today, Aliaksei is undergoing a forensic psychiatric examination,” says Aleh Zhalnou. “We signed a contract with a lawyer for him. I will use my right to a defense, but as there is no money, I will use the services of a free lawyer.”

As yet, the dates of trials are not reported, as the charges keep being investigated. Most cases relate to last year’s incident outside local traffic police building.

“They keep checking my equipment, they allegedly found porn there, and this is Article 343 of the Criminal Code. A criminal case was opened under Article 369: for posting videos of offenses by the police on the Internet. Another criminal charge I face is under Article 340 (“false report about the danger”); it is investigated now. This is a consequence of my visit to the police department, when one of the policemen said my things was a threat to security and classified it as an attempted explosion,” says the blogger.

Over the recent months, Aleh Zhalnou has been summoned to the police for interviews and interrogations more than 40 times.

“At the same time, officers who signed the summons, sometimes were not at work at the appointed time, that is, they called me in for nothing. Four times they used physical force against me, I’ve been handcuffed twice, they seized 13 pieces of equipment,” sums up Aleh Zhalnou.

Aleh Zhalnou is known for his blog, where he used to post audios and videos showing illegal actions of the police.