Dzmitry Paliyenka case brought to trial
The case of former political prisoner and Amnesty International’s prisoner of conscience Dzmitry Paliyenka has been submitted to the Minsk City Court. The trial will open in early September.
Paliyenka is facing charges in four separate counts: Art. 341 (damage to public property), Art. 130, Part. 1 (inciting social hatred), Art. 369 (public insult of a government official) and Art. 339, Part 2 (especially malicious hooliganism) of the Criminal Code.
He was arrested on March 20 and has been held in pre-trial detention since then.
Human rights defenders say the defamation charge is dubious since the definition of police as a social group is wrong from the point of view of international human rights standards.
The trial will be held against the background of the parliamentary elections and is likely to draw considerable international attention.
“The Belarusian authorities have once again declares that the elections will be democratic and consistent with international standards of free elections. Meanwhile, free and democratic elections are not only about casting a ballot in a box or counting the votes. They are also about the atmosphere in which the elections are held. People should be guaranteed to exercise freedom of expression without fear of punishment for their views,” Aleh Pashkevich, Viasna activist, said.