Updated at 14:38,23-10-2020

Belarusian opposition activist detained in Moscow: police break law

Belsat / BelaPAN

Belarusian opposition activist Maksim Viniarski was briefly detained by police twice in Moscow on February, 24.

Maksim Viniarski, 32, was arrested for the first time near Zamoskvoretsky District Court’s building in the morning. Hundreds of people gathered near the courthouse to demand the release of the eight suspects in the so-called Bolotnaya case whose sentences were being pronounced.

The case was opened in 2012 following an anti-government demonstration in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square.

He was charged with crossing a road at an undesignated place, Mr Viniarski told BelaPAN. “This is not true,” he said. “Riot police pushed people out to the roadway, but I managed to get around a police line and was arrested on the sidewalk.”

Mr Viniarski was grabbed by police for the second time in Manezhnaya Square at about 7 pm. “We were arrested for allegedly trying to break through a riot police cordon to get into the square,” he said. “However, this is also a lie. Policemen simply grabbed people who looked familiar, including people who had earlier been arrested.”

A charge sheet was drawn up against Mr Viniarski accusing him of disobeying lawful orders by police officers, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail.

Mr Viniarski said that he did not know when his trial was scheduled to take place. “Others will stand trial on March 11,” he said. “They were released on after pledging in writing to attend it. I was allowed to go without signing any pledges.”

According to Russian media reports, more that 200 people were arrested near Zamoskvoretsky District Court’s building on Monday morning. More than 400 arrests were made in Manezhnaya Square in the evening.