Vitsebsk: three days of arrest for taking part in a photoshoot
Trials of participants of a photoshoot with a graffiti continue at the Chyhunachny District Court in Vitsebsk. Five civil society activists and journalists have been already sentenced to fines for taking photos against the background of a graffiti of newspaper birds flying out of cages.
An occasional passer-by, Piatro Biarlinau, who decided to take part in the photoshoot on the spot, was sentenced to three days of arrest. The peculiarity of the situation is that he had spent these three days in detention before the trial: he was detained on November 28 and the trials started at 1 p.m. on December 1. Judge Alena Tsyhankova just sentenced him to arrest post-factum.
"I was detained in the street, taken to the Chyhunacnhy District Police Department and charged with “unauthorized picketing” for making photos with newspaper birds near the building in Ilyinski Street. Everything was very decent and had no resemblance to a picket – there were no posters or slogans. I also decided to get photographed and asked to be given a bird. I couldn't even imagine that this could be considered as a violation of the public order,” commented Mr. Biarlinau.
According to Piatro Biarlinau, he wanted to get acquainted with participants of the photoshoot, as he noticed some journalists among them. He has a problem to which he wanted to draw public attention. Several years ago his plot of land with buildings on it was taken away from him by the state. Instead of it, he re was given a three-room apartment. However, Mr. Biarlinau doesn't regard it as an equivalent compensation of the lost property and refuses to move to the apartment:
"I believe that I was given the apartment in violation of the law, and don't want to participate in it. Therefore I often live at my friends' and relatives'. When the police detained me, they said: “Now you'll be taken to the detention center for three days – in any case you have nowhere to live!” That's my penalty – I spent three days in custody before the trial.”
Other participants of the photoshoot were sentenced to fines. Journalist Alena Stsiapanava was fined 3 million rubles by Judge DzianiS Hubanau, journalists Kastus Mardzvintsau and Zmitser Kazakevich were fined 3 million rubles each by Judge Alena Tsyhankova. A member of the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Alena Shabunia was fined 2.7 million rubles by Judge Dzianis Hubanau (the fine was reduced due to the fact that she is a mother with three children, two of whom are under age). The largest fine, 3,750,000 rubles, was given to the coordinator of the organizing committee of the BCD Tatsiana Seviarynets by Judge Alena Tsyhankova.
One more participant of the photoshoot, human rights activist Pavel Levinau, is waiting to be summonsed to the court.
Each hearing on the case is attended by the head of the public order and prophylaxis division of the Chyhunachny DPD, major Rybakou, who discriminated in the circumstances of the photoshoot on errand of the head of the public order division of the police department of Vitsebsk Regional Executive Committee Aliaksandr Kalinouski. Mr. Rybakou charged 7 people with violation of Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses and confirmed at court that he saw evident traits of violation of the law on mass events in the action in that its participants gathered in one place at one time with one goal. In addition, they brought some props with them (newspaper birds and cages) which they used while “expressing their public and political interests”.