Viasna member detained among protests in Brest
At least 10 people, including human rights activist Uladzimir Vialichkin, were arrested on Friday in Brest for their alleged involvement in a series of rallies protesting the construction of a battery factory, which local environmental groups view as a potential hazard for the city.
Human rights lawyer Raman Kisliak says the activists were arrested on Friday night, so that they could be held in detention until Monday.
Eight more people were arrested on Sunday after another protest against the harmful industry. Two of them, including blogger Aliaksandr Kabanau, were soon released without charges.
The others faced charges of illegal protesting (Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code) and were brought to the Lieninski District Court this morning.
Viasna activist Uladzimir Vialichkin spent two nights in pre-trial detention, but was released this morning, together with at least 7 more persons, after he requested his lawyer’s involvement in the case. The activist is expected to appear in court on April 18.
Two protesters were fined 255 and 765 rubles.
Over the past few weeks, police have intensified pressure on the opponents of the Brest battery factory. Apart from numerous administrative trials and ensuing fines and short prison terms, the authorities opened a criminal investigation involving one of the protesters, Maisei Mazko, who was held for three days over alleged possession of ammunition. The activist and his son were eventually released, but Mazko is still named a suspect in the case.