Seven opposition activists in Homyel were sentenced to fines totaling 7,525,000 rubels ($2,740) on Tuesday over an attempt to stage a demonstration in Homyel on September 16.
The activists were arrested 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 in the Chyhunachny District Court that the seven people 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. Yury Zakharanka, Vasil Palyakow and Alyaksandr Pratsko were each fined 40 times the Base Rate, or 1,400,000 rubels ($510). Ivan Zayats was sentenced to a fine of 1,050,000 rubels and Uladzimir Nyapomnyashchykh to a fine of 875,000 rubels. Fines of 20 times the Base Rate, or 700,000 rubels ($255) at present, were imposed on Uladzimir Myshak and Maryna Smyahlikava.
The other nine 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.