Students convicted of protesting on Knowledge Day
Forty-four trials were held yesterday in Minsk courts to hear the administrative charges of “illegal protesting” involving students of several major universities who demonstrated on September 1. Thirty-two students were sentenced to short terms in prison, as a result. Twelve more were fined.
The predominantly male youths were detained as they took to the streets of Minsk to mark the start of the academic year. However, in most cases, they were not allowed to gather and dispersed by riot police. In at least one instance, truncheons were used against peaceful protesters.
Several journalists were detained while covering the protests. Aliaksei Sudnikau and Nadzeya Kalinina (both tut.by reporters), Mikita Dubaleka, Maryia Eliashevich and Siarhei Shchohaleu (all working with the Komsomolskaya Pravda V Belarusi newspaper), and BelaPAN reporter Andrei Shauliuha were arrested despite wearing marked vests and carrying their press IDs.
All of them were accused of participating in the demonstrations and were detained before trial. The hearings that were scheduled for last afternoon failed to result in any court rulings and the journalists remained in detention.