Two Freedom Day protesters sentenced to short prison terms

2014 2014-03-26T17:37:17+0300 2014-03-26T17:37:17+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Court of Minsk’s Zavodski district heard today administrative charges brought against two activists detained during yesterday's Freedom Day demonstration.

Maksim Viniarski was detained at about 8:30 p.m. after the protest was over. During the procession, the activist was carrying a black banner with the words "Death to Kremlin Occupiers".

The other detainee’s name is Aliaksandr Blizniuk. The circumstances of his detention are still unknown.

Both activists spent the night in the detention center in Akrestsin Street. They were charged with disorderly conduct under Art. 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences.

During the trial of Maksim Viniarski, which was presided by Judge Alena Niakrasava, chief witness in the case, a riot policeman Tarasau, who worked in civilian clothes during the event, said that Viniarski attracted attention by chanting anti-government and Nazi slogans - "Putin is a Fascist", "Down with the Lukashenka False Regime". In addition, the witness said that the activist had resisted arrest. Viniarski completely denied the accusation. The activist also told the court that after his detention he heard policemen talk about the opposition, saying that they should be eliminated and burnt in crematoria, to prevent the situation of Ukraine.

As a result, Maksim Viniarski was sentenced to 15 days of arrest (Art. 17.1, 23.4 of the CAO). Another witness at the trial was a policeman named Reut. The main "fascist slogan" which he said the activist was guilty of was "Bandera is a Hero! Ukraine, we are with you!"

Aliaksandr Blizniuk was sentenced to 5 days of arrest on the same charges. The protester was seen carrying a Ukrainian flag and shouted "For Ukraine!".