19 persons still in custody in ‘rioting case’
According to latest reports, 19 persons remain in custody in the case of ‘preparing mass riots’, as of April 17. All of them have been charged under Part 3 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code.
Viasna does not possess any confirmation of a recent report by state-controlled media alleging that some of those arrested also faced charges under Article 287 of the Criminal Code (organizing an illegal armed group).
During a press conference with relatives of the persons detained in the case on March 24, the Human Rights Center "Viasna", along with the country’s six leading human rights organizations, stressed the politically motivated nature of the criminal case, which viewed in the context of the wave of hysteria stirred by the government-run media on the eve of the Freedom Day demonstration.
To date, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" is aware of the charges against persons involved in the case, but knows nothing about the amount and quality of evidence on which they are based. The analysis of this evidence will help assess the actions of the defendants under the criteria determining the concept of a ‘political prisoner’. However, it is essential that the arguments regarding the political persecution of defendants in the case were shared by the wider international community.
Zmitser Dashkevich and Siarhei Palcheuski, two members of the Young Front opposition group, were released on their own recognizance on April 15 after more than three weeks of detention.
The current list of persons held in the case is as follows:
Aliaksei Abramau, Andrei Bialiauski, Viktar Danilau, Andrei Dundukou, Aliaksandr Zimnitski, Ivan Kavalchuk, Miraslau Lazouski, Siarhei Kuntsevich, Viktar Maroz, Yauhen Paltarzhytski, Uladzimir Rumiantsau, Siarhei Strybulski, Aliaksandr Yaudakha, Andrei Komlik-Yamatsin, Mikalai Mikhalkou and his son Yan Mikhalkou, Uladzimir Fiodarau, Dzmitry Novik, and Tsimur Pashkevich.