Picks of the week
TUT.BY chief editor Maryna Zolatava convicted and fined $3,825
On March 4 TUT.BY chief editor Maryna Zolatava received the verdict in the "BelTA case": she was sentenced to a fine at a rate of 300 base values, or 7,650 rubles. BelTA's legal costs amounting to more than 6,000 rubles will be recovered from her. Her further professional activity is not prohibited.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists and Belarusian PEN Center condemned the verdict in a joint statement.
Six people punished for solidarity action with political prisoners, two more awaiting trial
Activists Andrej Kasheuski and Ales Abramovich received summons to the Tsentralny District Directorate of Internal Affairs of Minsk due to their participation in a solidarity action with political prisoners that was held on February 26. On March 4, Mikalai Dziadok was detained right after another trial in the case of distribution of extremist materials. On March 6, he was sentenced to a fine at a rate of 25 base values. Four more people were fined, one was arrested for 10 days.
Brest journalists-freelancers fined $1,500
On March 4, the Maskouski District Court of Brest pronounced guilty independent journalists Aliaksandr Liauchuk and Milana Kharytonava. They were fined under three administrative offense reports for the cooperation with the Polish TV channel Belsat without accreditation (art. 22.9 of the Administrative Offenses Code). They received a fine of 120 base values. Last year, they were tried 7 times under this article.
Absurd posters, clear purpose. Monstration picket held in Minsk
On March 6, Viasna HRC volunteers held a monstration "For the abolition of all prohibitions, and a ban on all cancellations" in Minsk Peoples' Friendship Park. Seven people came out holding posters with almost meaningless inscriptions. The absurdity and exaggeration is an important component of the monstration.
According to Viasna's human rights activist Natallia Satsunkevich, the organizer of the picket, the participants had two main objectives. The first was to express their attitude to freedom of assembly in Belarus, as it is completely flawed and gripped in a vice. The second one was to check the practical implementation of the notice-based procedure of holding mass events, enshrined in the Act on Mass Events which entered into force with some other changes on January 26 this year.
Although the peaceful assembly was held in a permitted location, the organizer still had to pay the ambulance services, the police and community services.
The picketers said that the introduction of the notice-based procedure of holding mass events did not contribute to the implementation in Belarus of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
Brest blogger's flat searched
On March 7, a search took place at the dwelling of a blogger and active opponent of the construction of the battery factory in Brest Aliaksandr Kabanau who lives in Biaroza. Searches also took place at his partner's and parents'.
"The search was conducted by the Economic Crime Department of Biaroza District Department of Internal Affairs within a criminal case. Nothing was found, seized, or sequestered. Next week, Aliaksandr Kabanau will be getting acquainted with the case files. But he is confident that the case was initiated in connection with his active citizen's and blogging activity," said local human rights activist Tamara Shchapiotkina.