“The trial of 14” has begun today in the Tsentralny district court on Minsk. Participants of the mass protest action of entrepreneurs on 10 January have trial today. About 50 people, including famous politicians, came to support the accused.
5 lawyers will defend the accused. There are about 70 people in the court room. As Radio Svaboda informs, political prisoner Andrei Kim is in the cell, where accused people, guarded from detention center, are kept during the trial. The rest of the accused sit on front benches. They wear T-shirts, with a slogan in the front “I love Belarus” and a quote from the article 35 of the Constitution of Belarus, guaranteeing freedom of assembly at the back. The administration of the court didn’t want to let some of the accused in the court, because they wear these T-shirts. Lubomir Rehak, Slovakia’s Ambassador, chair of the Council of Europe, and other European diplomats came to the court room.
Friends of youth activists, charged with participation in mass riot, came to the Tsentralny district court to support them.
Among the people in the court room are Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the civil association of entrepreneurs “Perspective”; Ales Makaeu, head of the coordinating council of individual entrepreneurs of Minsk; and activists of the entrepreneurs’ movement from regions, as well as politicians Alyaksandr Milinkevich, Ina Kulei, Mikola Statkevich, Paval Sevyarynets, Ihar Rynkevich, Lyavon Barshcheuski, human rights activists Aleh Vouchak, Ales Byalyatski. Representatives of the OSCE and U.S. embassy attended the trail, too.
Riot militiamen in civvies let pass the people to the court yard one by one. The procedure is very slow, and some of the accused haven’t entered the court yet.
The rally of entrepreneurs in the Minsk center, held on 10 January against the president’s decree No 760, gathered about three thousand people. Dozens of them were detained and beaten up. Criminal case for participation in riot was instigated against 14 people – Alyaksandr Barazenka, Alyaksei Bondar, Paval Vinahradau, Maksim Dashuk, Artsyom Dubski, Andrei Kim, Anton Koipish, Mikhas Kryvau, Mikhas Pashkevich, Ales Straltsou, Mikhas Subach, Uladzimir Syarheeu, Ales Charnyshou and Tatsyana Tsishkevich.
Though there are 14 accused on the case, only 10 of them will have trial today. The rest four, who didn’t learn the material of the case, will have trial later.