Activist in Hrodna fined over Ukraine solidarity flyers
On 18 November, the Leninski District Court of Hrodna considered the administrative case of local activist Volha Krapotsina, who was detained on 19 September when handing out leaflets in support of Ukraine. Judge Dzmitry Bubenchyk found the activist guilty of “illicit manufacturing and distributing of printed materials” (Art. 22.9, Part 2 of the Administrative Code) and fined her 4.5 million rubles.
During the trial, Uladzimir Harelau, who identified himself as an individual entrepreneur, spoke as a witness. Mr. Harelau, a resident of the house in Stefan Batory Street, actually detained Volha Krapotsina, without any right to it. He explained his behavior by “respect for the local policeman”, who had come to him earlier and asked for help find those who spread the “seditious” flyers.
Volha Krapotsina pleaded not guilty on the grounds that every citizen of the Republic of Belarus is entitled to a right of free flow of information. The case file also featured an opinion by the Ministry of Information of the Republic of Belarus, which recognized the homemade flyers a “mass political non-periodical publication”.
Volha Krapotsina was detained in central Hrodna on September 19. The police seized 17 leaflets with the text “Return the Crimea! Hands off Ukraine!” and “Shame on traitors with a tricolor in their teeth. Putin will shake your hand, when he raises you on bayonets!” Krapotsina was then held for a couple of hours in the police station, and then her place of residence was searched. On 11 November, she was charged with an administrative offense.