Svetlahorsk police pay interest to the role of journalists during a picket
January 15, civil society activist Yury Liashenka was summoned to the Svetlahorsk District Police Department for a “talk”. On his demand he was issued with a writ where his status was indicated as “witness”.
The questions of the police inspector concerned the one-man picket held by Mr. Liashenka on November 25, 2014 with the aim to draw public attention to problems people with disabilities and violations of the legislation on barrier-free environment. The activist was detained by “ambulance: and taken to a hospital against his will. Later, the police charged him with holding an unauthorized mass event, as a result of which he was sentenced to a fine.
The policeman asked what the journalists Kanstantsin Zhukouski and Larysa Shchyrakova were doing on the square at that time. “He asked whether they had helped me in producing the poster, or had held it in their hands or unrolled it at the picket. I answered they didn't. I held the picket on my own. The journalists just helped me to get into the car and get out of it, as far as I am handicapped and have serious health problems,” commented Yury Liashenka, who moves mainly in a wheelchair.
The policeman drew a report of questioning as a result of the conversation. The police will probably try to draw the journalists to administrative liability for alleged participation in the picket. On January 15 a police inspector phoned to Kanstantsin Zhukouski and insistently invited him to a “talk” concerning the picket in Svetlahorsk. “I refused to come to any talks until getting a writ. Finally, how can I know who really phoned me and for what reason,” said the Homel resident.
On January 15, Svetlahorsk District Court was to have considered the appeal of Mr. Liashenka against the actions of the Svetlahorsk District Executive Committee who had banned the picket. However, the hearing was postponed due to the absence of the deputy head of the executive committee Siarhei Miarkulau who was to have represented the interests of the local authorities at the trial.