Representatives of the OSCE mission in Minsk and foreign embassies ignored the judicial processes over the organizers of the People’s March, which was held yesterday. Observers, dressed in bright yellow T-shirts with OSCE blue letters, as well as foreign embassies’ officials, who usually attend all politically motivated trials, weren’t there in the Sovietsky district police station this time. The OSCE mission is called observatory, but what are these people observing here? Or may be OSCE no longer cares for the human rights and freedoms in Belarus. Moreover, a few days before the action ZUBRs passed over to the head of mission Eberhard Haiken an invitation to visit it and see with his own eyes the arrests of protesters. Or could this indifference be a result of the parliament’s recent recognition by OSCE PA?
Today the United Civil Party circulated its statement in connection with administrative arrests, passed against the initiators and organizers of the People’s March “For Better Life!”. Following read its text:
One of the initiators of the People’s March “For Better Life!”, Charter’97 international coordinator, former deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Sannikov was sentenced by the Sovietsky district court of Minsk to 15 days of arrest. The verdict was passed by judge Ruslan Kazadaev. The witnesses for the prosecution were police officers Kabanovich and Dolguchits. Sannikov was charged with violating art.167/1 – organizing unsanctioned mass events. The trial over Sannikov lasted for more than two hours. Immediately after its termination, the diplomat was sent to the Okrestina pre-trial detention.
One of the organizers of the national entrepreneurs’ strike and People’s March “For Better Life!”, co-chairman of the “Private property” Leonid Malakhov was sentenced to 15 days of arrest by judge Oksana Relyaeva. The witnesses for the prosecution were police lieutenant Hiyko and major Leonivich. The businessman was found guilty of violating art.167/2 of the Administrative code – involvement in unsanctioned mass events. He has three sons. We’re still waiting for Andrei Sannikov’s verdict.
Judge Ruslan Kazadaev sentenced 13th Supreme Soviet deputy, Charter`97 human rights coordinator Ludmila Gryaznova to 15 days of arrest for violating art.167/1 – organizing unsanctioned mass events. Witnesses for the prosecution were police officers Litvinko and Filatov. Gryaznova has an underage daughter.
Organizer of the People’s March, Charter’97 coordinator Dmitry Bondarenko was sentenced by the Sovietsky district court to 15 days of arrest (judge Oksana Relyaeva). The witnesses for the prosecution were senior police lieutenant Hiyko and major Leonovich. Bondarenko was found guilty of participating in unsanctioned events. He had been detained yesterday evening and stayed overnight together with Sannikov in a special confinement center. Sannikov’s verdict remains unknown.
Trials over the initiators of the People’s March “For Better Life!”, Charter’97 international coordinator, former deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Andrei Sannikov, Charter’97 human rights coordinator Ludmila Gryaznova and action’s organizer, Charter’97 coordinator Dmitry Bondarenko will commence today at 11a.m. in the Sovietsky district court of Minsk. Andrei Sannikov and Dmitry Bondarenko were detained yesterday evening by the Sovietsky district police station after the termination of the protest action “For Better Life!”, held in Minsk under social slogans, demanding the rise of salary and reduction of public utilities tariffs. Apart from Sannikov and Bondarenko they also captured yesterday Ludmila Gryaznova – another initiator of the People’s March. However, as far as the lady has an under-age daughter without a father, they let her go home late at night. This morning they also arrested Leonid Malakhov, one of the organizers of the national entrepreneurial protest and People’s March. On March 12 evening the law-enforcers tried to pass over to Malakhov a court subpoena through his wife. But the woman refused to accept it from their hands. This morning, however, they delivered the man to the Sovietsky district police station. The duty officer said that the trial over the man would be held in a couple of days, until which he will stay in custody.
March 12 evening the meeting of solidarity with the Minsk People’s March was carried out in Borisov. The action, which attracted over two hundred people, was held on the central square opposite the town hall’s headquarters.
People’s March “For Better Life!” was a success. The capital saw a massive action of protest, in which around 5 thousand people took part and which was upheld in dozens of Belarusian regions. Over 100,000 small business representatives didn’t come out to work as a sign of solidarity with the action. The national strike encompassed over 30 Belarusian towns. The actions of solidarity with the People’s March were held all across Europe. However, despite the clearly peaceful character of demonstration and social slogans, requiring the reduction of apartment rent and rise in salaries, the authorities embarked on provocations. Clashes with police were luckily avoided only due to the perfect diplomacy of the March’s organizers.