Human rights defenders, protesters convicted across Belarus
Several human rights defenders and opposition activists have been sentenced to short terms of detention or fined following trials held today in various parts of Belarus. These include Viasna’s activists Aliaksandr Burakou in Mahilioŭ and Uladzimir Vialichkin in Brest.
All of them were charged with joining a series of protests staged between May 6 and 10 to demand the release of blogger Siarhei Tsikhanouski. The vlogger was earlier arrested by the police and sentenced to 15 days in prison after announcing a public meeting with his supporters in Mahilioŭ. The demonstrators also called to cancel the military parade on May 9.
Aliaksandr Burakou and Uladzimir Vialichkin were held after observing the protests and remanded before trial, together with several dozens of Tsikhanouski’s associates.
Vialichkin was sentenced to a fine of 1,350 rubles. The Brest human rights activist was not released after the hearing and the police took him back to the detention center. Similarly, local human rights lawyer Raman Kisliak was not released after being fined BYN 810.
In Mahilioŭ, Viasna’s activist Aliaksandr Burakou was sentenced to 10 days in prison. Local courts also convicted 9 opposition activists.
According to human rights defenders, 28 court hearings were held yesterday, with at least 12 more trials reported today. More protesters will stand trials in the coming days, including several young activists who staged a performance on May 8 to protest against the government’s plans to conduct the Victory Day parade amid the coronavirus pandemic.