Picks of the week
Dzmitry Paliyenka, former political prisoner and Amnesty International’s prisoner of conscience, who is currently held in custody awaiting trial in a criminal case, has faced two additional charges, including “assaulting an official.”
In addition to an earlier triple charge that may result in up to 10 years in prison, the activist is accused of verbally attacking former Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich (an offense qualified under Art. 369 of the Criminal Code). The article carries a penalty of up to 3 years of restricted liberty. Paliyenka has also been charged under Art. 341 for allegedly painting a graffiti on a fence near the Kurapaty memorial site.
The imprisoned activist is likely to remain in pre-trial detention for at least four more weeks, as the authorities will have to investigate the new charges.
The organizers of the annual open-air festival Viva Braslav have revoked the registration of a human rights group Human Constanta. The decision came within days of the scheduled start of the major event. Human Constanta has failed a “government control procedure,” the NGO’s Facebook account said.
“While we are organizing a conference with public authorities and business, holding educational events in Belarus and abroad, and make human rights a trend, local officials censor the presence of civil society organizations at the festival,” it said.
It is also known that similar bans were reported by two more civil society organizations.
Viasna has published another shocking story exposing ill-treatment by police officers.
The multimedia project BezPravaNaRaspravu has told about the violent arrest of a minor, Yana Yatsynovich, during a Freedom Day protest on March 25, 2017. The teenager was grabbed by the hair and thrown into a police bus, where she received several blows to the back of the head and had to seek medical assistance. As a result, the girl was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“Many doctors said that my condition and frequent attacks are directly related to the head injury,” Yana said.
The authorities, however, ignored her parents’ request to prosecute the police officers.