Picks of the Week
Raman Kisliak, a human rights defender and lawyer in Brest, is expected to stand trial on charges of attending an illegal protest on October 14. The lawyer was arrested together with a dozen environmental activists who protested against the construction of a battery factory. Police also detained ex-presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich and two local bloggers who covered the event. All of them had to spend the night in custody.
The following day, Kisliak was hospitalized with high blood pressure. This prevented him from standing trial on October 15, while other protesters were sentenced to heavy fines and short terms of detention.
The trial of Raman Kisliak will be held on October 24.
On October 16, police arrested three members of the Belarusian Popular Front’s youth wing, after they protested outside the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Minsk. Dzianis Mandzik, Hanna Smilevich and Arseniy Dziadok picketed the government building to highlight the recent cases of hazing in the army, including the death of a conscript in October 2017.
Dziadok was soon released, after police learned he was under-aged. After spending the night in detention, Smilevich and Mandzik stood trial and were fined a total of 1,375 rubles (EUR 555).
The authorities continued to prosecute independent journalists, including for working without accreditation.
On October 16, police arrested Belsat reporter Volha Chaichyts. She was taken to the police department and charged with covering a protest in the Kurapaty memorial.
It was Chaichyts’s 12th charge brought since early 2018.
Ales Dzianisau, a reporter for Radio Racyja, was charged with reposting an extremist message. According to harodniaspring.org, the journalist is accused of sharing a post earlier published in a vk.com group, which is said to be run by anarchists. The Hrodna-based reporter says he has not received official papers yet.