News for March 2008

27.03.2008 Siarhei Kruchkou and Mikhas Yanchuk detained

At one of the offices in Minsk on Starynauskaya Street, 14 the police detained Siarhei Kruchkou (member of the Belarusian Language Society) and Mikhas Yanchuk. It is possible that their detention is linked to searches in the apartments of independent journalists and their offices, which are taking place all over Belarus.

27.03.2008 Babruisk and Mahiliou: searches at journalists’ apartments

The stairway to the apartment of Babruisk journalist Andrei Shobin is blocked by a KGB car. Shobin is accused of working for Belsat. However, they still cannot find Andrei. The police has a search warrant signed by Minsk prosecutor.

The police also confiscated the computer system unit from BAJ member Henadz Sudnik in Mahiliou. Sudnik was not detained.

27.03.2008 On March 25th Belarusian authorities demonstrated their attitude to human rights

Viasna's statement about the events on March 25th

Case of journalist Andrei Liankevich sent for revision

27.03.2008 Case of journalist Andrei Liankevich sent for revision

Yesterday Zavodski court judge postponed the trial over Nasha Niva journalist Andrei Liankevich to Thursday, 9 a.m. Yesterday the judge demanded the documents proving that Nasha Niva was an officially registered edition. Today, in several minutes after the trial began, judge Alena Laptseva ruled to send the case back for revision.

27.03.2008 Searches at private apartments of Vitebsk journalists Alena Stsiapanava and Vadzim Barshcheuski

In Vitebsk KGB agents began searches at private apartments of local journalists Alena Stsiapanava and Vadzim Barshcheuski. Stsiapanava worked with RFE/RL and BelaPAN information agency. KGB is also searching apartments where Radio Racyja journalists live. We receive information from all over the country about searches in the apartments of independent journalists in Brest, Hrodna, Vitebsk, and Biaroza. The journalist from Biaroza is accused of insult of the president. Minsk office of the European Radio for Belarus is blocked. According to some reports, KGB agents show a search warrant signed by deputy Prosecutor General Struk. The search warrant could be given within the framework of the criminal case of insult of the president. Radio Racyja office is also blocked. The search at the apartment of BAJ member Eduard Melnikau ended with seizure of his laptop.

27.03.2008 The police also detained BelaPAN reporter Aliaksandar Yanusik, who came to cover the news.

BAJ reports, KGB agents came to the private apartment of Homel journalist Anatol Hatouchyts. They are also carrying out a search in the apartment of Vitebsk journalist Aleh Barshcheuski. According to preliminary information, similar searches and detentions are taking place in Brest, Vitebsk, and Hrodna, where special services representatives are trying to get into private apartments of journalists. In Biaroza, the police search the apartment of journalist Shchapiotkina, who worked with Radio Racyja. She was shown a search warrant signed by Minsk officials. They accuse her of libel against the president.

27.03.2008 Police search Minsk office of Radio Racyja

Nasha Niva learned from staff of Radio Racyja, about 8.30 a.m. KGB agents came to Minsk office of Radio Racyja. The office of the independent radio is located in a rented apartment. They stand at the staircase and detain everyone who approaches the doors.

26.03.2008 Trials on March 26th end

Savetski, Zavadski, Maskouski, and Partyzanski courts of Minsk finished trials over participants of the celebration of peaceful rally detained on March 25th. The courts considered 75 administrative cases, 26 of which ended with arrests. The judges gave from 5 to 15 days of jail to the action participants. Two trials are postponed for March 27th (the cases against journalist Andrei Liankevich and Zmitser Yasevich). Two of the detained – Yaraslau Hryshchenia and Yuras Karetnikau – are receiving medical treatment. In general, about 20 people received injuries.

26.03.2008 Ukrainian embassy can’t find its citizen detained yesterday

Ukrainian consul U. Serdeha told Radio Racyja, the Ukrainian embassy was looking for its citizen. The young man was not found in Maskouski court where, according to the Ministry of Information, he was supposed to be brought.

Ukrainian citizen Yury Biriuk was detained yesterday during the action Freedom Day 2008, together with other action participants. After the detention he was taken to Akrestsina jail.

Today in the morning Ukrainian consul U. Serdeha and lawyer of the international human rights organization A. Dzemidovich came to Maskouski court to defend the Ukrainian citizen.

26.03.2008 Million roubles for graffiti

In Hrodna Aliaksei Sarnou who wrote “return benefits” on a wall was fined 25 basic units (1, 225, 000 BYR or about 600 dollars)

26.03.2008 Trials over participants of peaceful action in Baranavichy end

Yesterday the police detained a group of 14 civic activists on their way to lay flowers to the Cross of Suffering in Baranavichy. All of them were brought to the local police station. Two teenagers were released. It was expected that the police would releasr two activists with poor health condition – disabled Ales Shcharbakou and Uladzimir Housha. However, the policemen left them in the detention center together with the others. One of them, Ales Shcharbakou, felt really bad. An ambulance came in an hour after the call. As a result the activist was taken to hospital. Loval human rights defender Siarhei Housha told Viasna, the participants of yesterday’s action received the following sentences:

26.03.2008 Trials over detained activists continue (updated)

Minsk courts are busy with trials over the activists detained during the peaceful rally yesterday. The rally was to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Belarusian Democratic Republic 1. Adamovich (Zavodski court, fined 30 basic units, judge Alena Laptseva) 2. Afnahel, Yauhen (Savetski police department severely beaten, Savetski court, judge Aksana Reliava, 10 days of jail) 3. Akimau, Vital (Savetski police department, Savetski court, 15 days of jail)

25.03.2008 14 participants of the Freedom Day celebrations detained in Baranavichy

The police detained a group of people on their way to lay flowers to the Cross of Suffering in Baranavichy. All of them were taken to Baranavichy city police department for giving explanations and clarification. In some time two disabled and two teenagers were released. 10 people were taken to the detention center for drawing up reports and trials tomorrow.

25.03.2008 51 detained in Savetski police department

The human rights center "Viasna" found out, the police took 51 participants of the peaceful Freedom Day action to Savetski police department. They were brought on a police bus and police trucks. According to the detained, on the way to the police station they were beaten by riot policemen. There are 3 teenagers among the detained. The police is to release them in three hours. Now the police are video recording them.

25.03.2008 Mikita Krasnou and Ales Kalita interrogated at investigation committee of the city police department on Sapiorau Street.

Youth activists are interrogated as witnesses in a criminal case. The case is instigated after the mass protest action on January 10th. Franak Viachorka is also there. He has already been interrogated but is not released.

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