Authorities responsible for arrests on European March’s Eve 17:56, 24/09/2007
Democratic activist, father of two children Leanid Navitski was sentenced today to 10 nights of arrest by the Partisansky district court of Minsk. The activist was detained 21 September on a charge of organization of the European March. After the detention, 100 flags of the European Union and informational materials with the symbols of Europe were confiscated. “I was leaving my flat when the people in civvies came to me. They introduced themselves as the KGB agents and enter the flat under pretence of looking for illegal inhabitants. They call for a district militia officer, a group of criminalists, witnesses. They didn’t give a copy of the report”, - Leanid Navitski said in the court-room.
As Navitski said, at first the report was drawn up under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences (call for the participation in unsanctioned action). But today in court the district militia officer of Partyzanski District Interior Department, senior lieutenant Andrey Dobkin claimed that Leanid Navitski supposedly used obscene words and thus the protocol under Article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disorderly conduct) was drawn up.
“They draw up a protocol for “disorderly conduct” as the usually do… I pity the militiaman, who was made to do this –he is not a bad person. I wouldn’t be able to do a work like that”, Navitski commented the actions of the militiamen.
The authorities are providing their usual policy, arresting the potentially active citizens on the eve of mass actions, groundless accusing them of “disorderly conduct”. They do the same in 2006 before the president elections and this year before Freedom Day.
Judge Alena Tityankova convicted Navitski and sentenced him to 10 nights of arrest. But the activist has another report drawn up for the organization of the European March, thus one more trial is possible.
14 October the European March is to be held in Minsk. To make a breakthrough to Europe and save the Belarusian economy the opposition suggested the authorities to hold the European March together. In this connection the negotiation group of the European March has sent a letter to Deputy Head of President’s Administration Natallia Pyatkevich. But the authorities and Deputy Head of President’s Administration in particular keep silence and continue repressions against pro-European-minded youth.
Such a position can lead to the situation when Europe will not only deny economic aid that the Belarusian authorities ask, but apply new sanctions. The responsible people for that will be Minister for Internal Affairs Uladzimir Naumau and Deputy Head of President’s Administration Natallia Pyatkevich.