Two more activists fined over unsanctioned demonstration
16 октября 2009, 14:29
Two more opposition activists were sentenced to fines on October 15 over an attempt to stage a demonstration in Homyel on September 16.
The Homyel's Chyhunachny District Court fined Anatol Paplawny, a member of the Belarusian Popular Front, 40 times the Base Rate, or 1.4 million rubels ($512), and Uladzimir Syakerka, first secretary of the regional organization of the Belarusian Party of Communists, 20 times the Base Rate, or 700,000 rubels.
"This was a farce and not a trial," Mr. Syakerka commented in an interview with BelaPAN. "The judge rejected all my requests, even though I asked for witnesses to be called and for a police video record to be admitted into evidence. The record clearly shows that we did nothing illegal. On the contrary, police officers grabbed us on the street and bundled into a bus."
At the request of Mr. Paplawny, an interpreter was invited and the trial was conducted in Belarusian.
On October 13, seven opposition activists were sentenced to fines totaling 7,525,000 rubels ($2,740) over the attempted demonstration.
A total of 16 opposition activists were arrested on September 16 while they were walking toward Homyel's downtown Pawstannya Square, where they planned to demonstrate to mark a decade since the disappearance of opposition politician Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasowski.
Police officers insisted during the trials that the activists had marched in a procession, carrying images of Messrs. Hanchar and Krasowski.
The accused argued that they had carried no images because the demonstration was to have been staged in Pawstannya Square.
Nonetheless, all of them were found guilty of acting in violation of regulations governing street demonstrations. The other seven people charged over the attempted demonstration have not yet received summons from the court. According to the Homyel regional police department, the arrests were made after an anonymous caller had informed it that an "anti-social event" was to be held in Pawstannya Square.