Today democratic forces activists mark the Day of Solidarity in Minsk. They are going to come to October Square with portraits of political prisoners at 6.00pm. Participants of the action will express their solidarity with people, accused on the case of 14.
A month ago a legal process on the case of 14 began in the Tsentralny district court of Minsk. Youth activists, participants of protest rally of entrepreneurs on 10 January, were accused of organising group actions, which allegedly disturbed the public peace. 10 people are already sentenced. They are Andrei Kim, Mikhal Pashkevich, Alyaksei Bondar, Uladzimer Syarheeu, Artsyom Dubski, Ales Straltsou, Ales Charnyshou, Anton Koipish, Mikhal Kryvau and Tatsyana Tishkevich. Seven of them were sentenced to personal restraint without sending to special facility, two persons are fined. Andrei Kim is imprisoned for one and a half year.
A trial over the rest persons involved in the case of 14, Paval Vinahradau, Mikhal Subach and minor Maksim Dashuk, is to begin in the Tsentralny district court of Minsk on 23 May. Alyaksandr Barazenka, student of Kalinouski programme, who studies in Wroclaw university, is put on the wanted list.
Mikhal Pashkevich, leader of the “Young Democrats” of the United Civil Party, sentenced to restraint of liberty on the case on 14, told in an interview to Radio Svaboda:
“At 6.00pm the United Civil Party and “Young Democrats” hold an action on October Square – a chain of sympathetic people. Great attention is paid to the fact that the trial on the second part of the case of 14 is appointed on 23 May. The action has two aims. The first one is expressing solidarity with Kim, Parsyukevich and Kazulin as well as with the boys, who will have trial on 23 May. The main thing is that people should come with portraits. Every activist will have a copy of the Supreme Court regulation, signed by Sukala and Miklashevich, saying that going out with portraits doesn’t violate administrative procedure norms.”
According to human rights activist Ihar Rynkevich, political prisoners are not only Alyaksandr Kazulin, Syarhei Parsyukevich, but also the people, sentenced to restraint of liberty on the case of 14:
“They are hostages of the regime, like Alyaksandr Kazulin. There was a task before the parliamentary campaign to capture democratic activists, who are not afraid to participate in street actions. The regime has fulfilled the task. They think they can frighten the Belarusian democratic youth. It is a strike, lives of young people are broken. It is continuing repressions and pressure upon dissents in Belarus.”
Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the Young Front, says the day of solidarity had a special meaning:
“Such events prove the people, who suffer for the truth and justice, that they are not forgotten, their work is alive. Of course, we will join the action of solidarity and think such action should be attended by everyone, who is aware of Belarus’ future, who loves Belarus, and thinks that any person, fighting for the truth on our land, can found himself in prison.”
An initiative to hold the Day of Solidarity appeared after an action of memory of dispapeared oppositionists had been dispersed by militia on 16 September 2005. The participants of the action took to streets with white-red-white flags and portraits of Viktar Hanchar, Yury Zakharanka and Zmitser Zavadski. Youth activist Mikita Sasim rose up a jean shirt as a symbol of resistance to the regime in Belarus. Since then the Day of Solidarity is celebrated every 16th of a month.