Court in Biaroza says demand to release political prisoners is call for extremism, war and violence
Human rights activists in Biaroza asked to overturn a ban imposed on a Freedom Day picket by the district executive committee. The picket was expected to mark the 97th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic, as well as to demand the release of political prisoners. However, the judge agreed with the arguments of the executive committee’s lawyer Yauhen Kashtalian and prosecutor Aksana Hardziyenka, who argued that demands to release political prisoners is a call for extremism, war, violence, social and ethnic enmity. According to the officials, there are no political prisoners in Belarus, but there are criminals punished for various criminal offenses.
“Do you want a Maidan here?” asked the executive committee’s lawyer Yauhen Kashtalian. “And if these people are released, they will return to their activities. And you are contributing to this.”
However, the officials did not specify what they believed was inciting national hatred, which was mentioned as the key reason for banning the picket.
As a result, Judge Natallia Minchanka supported the decision of the executive committee and rejected the human rights defenders’ complaint.
According to the activists, they will appeal against the court’s decision.