Babruisk blogger Aleh Zhalnou litigates with traffic police
Aleh Zhalnou, known for his blog in which he exposed the illegal
actions of the police and traffic police, is in court again. This
time the local traffic police try to prove Judge Natallia Charapukha
that Aleh and his son Aliaksei used physical violence
against them. In their turn, The Zhalnous insist that they didn't
show any resistance to the police, but have themselves
become victims of abuse of powers
by the traffic police.
The story began on 4 September, when the Zhalnous were coming to the building of the traffic police and saw two cars parkeed in the sidewalk. They stopped the police inspector Aliaksandr Butouski who was driving away by his duty car, and asked him to register the violation of the traffic rules. He refused saying that his working hours were over. Aleh Zhalnou asked him to show his police ID. The policeman refused and started driving backwards, then got out of the car and called his colleagues. Aliaksei Zhalnou was shooting all these events on video. The road policemen said they prohibited him to make video shots and tried to cover the lens. Later on Aleh Zhalnou supplemented this video with the video from the external camera on the building of the traffic police, which he took from the Investigative Committee.
The police inspector Aliaksandr Aliaksandrau who came on Butouski's request, said that the cars were parked not in the sidewalk, but on the adjacent territory of the building of the traffic police department. He also asked Mr. Zhalnou to come to the building for drawing a report under Article 135 of the Traffic Rules, “Groundless interference with the movement of the vehicle".
“Me and Aliaksei were forcibly dragged into the building. At the same time we didn't resist, as we knew with whom we were dealing,” says Aleh Zhalnou. “I saw how the son was put on the floor and his arms were twisted. I noted that a street camera was working outdoors, therefore they treated us quite gently there, I was just put on the ground serveral times there. However, they took revenge in the building. When I tried to help my son get up, they knocked me down and put me face to the ground. Then they seized my equipment, put handcuffs on my hands and kept me in this position until I started to faint. I should not that I have an ill spine, that's why I generally can not resist. Then Aliaksei was dragged into one room and I was into another. On the way Butouski kicked me with his fit and pushed me so that my head would hit the wall. When I was finally put on a chair, Butouski whispered to me: “You're doomed. You've broken my lip and torn away a shoulder strap, you'll be surely imprisoned for that.” However, I saw that there were no injuries or blood on his face."
After the "conversations" with the traffic police Aleh Zhalnou needed medical assistance. After this he was taken to the district police department in handcuffs, where he was allowed to drink some water only four hours after the detention, a violation report was drawn up, his personal belongings were taken away, after which he was let go.
“After a long hastle with the documents and the case materials, on 9 October a court sitting was held. The traffic policemen argued that it was me and Aliaksei who had used physical violence,” says Aleh Zhalnou. “Moreover, they found some witnesses to help trying me under Article 23.4 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “insubordination to a lawful demand of a public agent on duty”. I read their testimonies, only their beginnings were different, whereas the bulk was identical, including the orthographic mistakes. Most probably, the guys weren't warned about the responsibility for false testimony when they signed it. Babruisk drivers Maksim Makarevich, Aleh Kapustsin and and Siarhei Panchanka, who came to the traffic police that day argue that it was us who had beaten the traffic policemen who hadn't even resisted. They had allegedly even seen the traces of beating on a policeman's face."
However, the Investigative Committee possesses a video where it can be seen that the police inspector Yauhen Serashtanau used a painful hold and pushed the people.
Aleh Zhalnou says that the traffic police even threatened to punish him for posting photos of the participants of this story on his blog. However, he says he has found all these photos freely available on the internet.
“At the police request, it was prohibited to take video and photo shots and make audio recordings at the court sitting. I don't know what verdict the judge will issue, but hope that justice will prevail . I am often asked why I am doing all this, contrary to the situation? It's quite simple : I want us to be guarded by competent police and traffic police who respect the law. It is necessary that citizens know their rights too and are not afraid to defend them, so that we can be proud of our country,” says Aleh Zhalnou.