26 February 2021, Friday, 0:47
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Is support of political prisoners in Belarus a crime?

Activists of “European Belarus” spent the night in a militia department and were fined 350,000 rubles for a banner “Freedom to Autukhovich!”

On June 30, activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Maksim Vinyarski and Uladzimir Kumets hung out a banner “Freedom to Autukhovich!” on a bridge above Nyamiha Street. They are arrested by militia for their actions. A report under article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (disorderly conduct) was drawn up against the detained.

On July 1, the activists were guarded to the Tsentralny district court of Minsk. As activists of “European Belarus” Uladzimir Kumets told the Charter’97 press center: “We were given reports to sign that say we used obscene language, insulting militiamen in Nyamiha Street, but this is false. The banner “Freedom to Autukhovich!” wasn’t mentioned in the report. A sham witness confirmed at the trial that we insulted the militiamen. We tried to prove we are not guilty, but we got a fine of 10 basic units.”

It should be reminded that leaders of entrepreneurs from Vaukavysk Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8, 2009. Human rights activists consider the detainees to be political prisoners drawing attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Lyavonau were convicted before and recognized prisoners of conscience by the international community. Mikalai Autukhovich is on hunger strike since April 16. He demands to send his case to court or release him on his own recognizance.