A trial against a coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign and member of Andrei Sannikov’s election team lasted only one day.
Zmitser Bandarenka, an election agent of Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov was found guilty in “organizing group actions that breach public order” for taking part in a protest demonstration against the rigged results of the presidential elections on December 19, 2010.
Judge of the Pershamaiski district court Tatsyana Revinskaya sentenced the famous politician and human rights activist to two years in a minimum security penal colony. State prosecutor Simakouski asked three years in a minimum security penal colony for Bandarenka.
Zmitser Bandarenka looked very calm and confident; he was reading “Belorusy I Rynok” newspaper in the defendant cage.
During yesterday’s trial Zmitser Bandarenka admitted he had taken part in a mass action on December 19. He pleaded not guilty to other charges. He said in his final word that demonstrators had been realizing their constitutional right to peaceful assemblies. Belarusians were protesting against the fraudulent elections. The time will come when some people will be asked why they did not protest, Bandarenka said.
According to Zmitser Bandarenka the real damage, worth billions dollars, was made to the country by those who threw presidential candidates in prisons and did not allowed the country to overcome the political and economic crises in a democratic way.
No significant proofs of Bandarenka’s “guilt” were presented in the court.
Part of the case paper evidence included printed records of Bandarenka’s phone conversations with Andrei Sannikov, Natalya Radzina, Viktar Ivashkevich and others.
Several audiotapes and videos were demonstrated for the evidence purposes. On one of the videos Bandarenka together with Sannikov chanted at the Square: “It’s time to change the bald tire!” Bandarenka confirmed his appearance on tape stating that the state structure must be reformed and the latest economic events prove the forecast of other presidential candidates manifested in their election programme.
Only one Traffic Police officer of all the witnesses questioned by the prosecution recognized Zmitser Bandarenka. None of the others noticed him in the events of the December 19. Questioned Traffic Police officers stated that demonstrates stepped out onto the traffic area of Independence Avenue and thus blocked traffic.
Not all the witnesses copied each other’s testimonies though. Witness Dubrousky, a Traffic Police officer, said that demonstrators acted in a rather peaceful manner.
Witness Babaryka, a former Traffic Police officer, said that the Traffic policemen hadn’t used loudspeakers to issue warnings to the demonstrators. He also reported that the manifestants hadn’t attempted to break a living chain of the traffic policemen.
During the trial Zmitser Bandarenka claimed that he had serious health concerns: his ulcer exacerbated along with gout and spine condition.
Besides, he said his right leg was stricken with paresis.
“During the time spent in detention my health has deteriorate,” Bandarenka stressed.
Zmitser Bandarenka was arrested early on December 20, 2010, after the dispersal of a peaceful demonstration against the rigged results of the presidential elections. He was taken to the KGB jail.
During the so called investigation, charges against the European Belarus coordinator were changed to “organizing and preparing the actions that breach public order, or taking active par in these actions” (article 342, part 1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus).