Updated at 18:44,21-03-2018

Anatol Lyabedzka may Face Criminal Charge


Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party and co-chairman of the United Democratic Forces, may face a criminal charge following his detention in Valozhyn on Monday.

Mr. Lyabedzka was staying in Valozhyn, a city some 40 miles northwest of Minsk, to support Teresa Sobol, the ousted manager of the Polish House in the nearby small city of Ivyanets who was facing a suit for allegedly illegally taking control of the House.

According to Mr. Lyabedzka, police barred people from entering the courthouse, alleging that a "special operation was going on there." "When I started taking pictures of the police lawlessness on a mobile phone camera, police officers grabbed me, twisted my arms and began to kick me in the legs," he said.

Mr. Lyabedzka was taken to the district police department where he was held for more than nine hours.
"I knew that police had the right to detain me for three hours for identification purposes, but when the three hours had passed, I began to demand that the reason for my detention be explained, but no one could explain it," Mr. Lyabedzka told BelaPAN. "At about 5 p.m., Deputy District Prosecutor Yurevich arrived, who accepted my complaint about my illegal detention and the seizure of my personal belongings."

Afterwards Mr. Lyabedzka was taken to the district court, where he was told that he had been charged with organizing an unsanctioned rally and obstructing the course of justice under Article 23 of the Administrative Offenses Code. "However, Judge Zyanko said right away that he would not hear the case, as he had decided to refer it to the Valozhyn district prosecutor’s office for instituting criminal proceedings," Mr. Lyabedzka said.

He was allowed to go at about 7 p.m. "The prosecutor said that law-enforcement officers at my place of residence would contact me if necessary," he said.