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Trial against Sannikov: People shouting “Shame!” in courtroom

Trial against Sannikov: People shouting “Shame!” in courtroom

The trial over Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov continued on May 6.

Besides the presidential candidate, activists Illya Vasilevich, Fyodar Mirzayanau, Aleh Hnedchykm and Uladzimir Yakavenka, are in the dock.

The presidential candidate is charged with organizing mass riot on December 19, 2010. This article (part 1 of article 293) carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

The riot policemen, allegedly injured by demonstrators, were questioned by court today. Andrei Sannikov talked to Alyaksandr Kashtalanau, the commander of riot police squad.

Sannikov: Is this you who gives an order to use batons or do they decide it themselves?

Kashtalanau: Police officers decide it themselves.

Sannikov: Did you hear people shouting “Police with people”?

Kashtalanau: No, I did not.

Sannikov: Why did not you detain those who were beating glass in the House of Government?

Kashtalanau: We do not detain at once. We had an order to prevent these actions.

Sannikov: Who gave this order?

Kashtalanau: I cannot say this.

The riot policemen continued to give even more absurd answers. Asked by Mirzayanau, riot police commander Kashtalanau said: “I do not know who directed my actions.”

The lawyers asked why riot police had not detained the people beating glass at that very moment.

“If we had begun to detain everyone who was beating glass, we would not have had forces to protect order. We had another task: providing security of the House of Government,” the riot police commander said.

None of the questioned riot policemen recognized the people, who had disobeyed to them, in the defendants. Their injuries were not confirmed by medical examination.

Officers of traffic police were questioned. One of them, Pyotr Charnabaeu, said he had not seen cars with sound amplifiers calling on people to stop demonstration because it was illegal. He also did not hear any calls. Music was very loud and the atmosphere on the square was quiet, he said. He did not notice any facts of violations of the law on October Square expect for the unauthorized rally.

Charnabaeu says there was a command to clear the avenue after demonstrators had stepped on Independence Avenue. The witness did not talk to Sannikov, but he claims the latter was not aggressive.

One of the riot policemen said in court that “the demonstrators, who were breaking through, did it according to a signal, under a command. Syarhei Anisko, a relative of one of the defendants, said in reply: “Stop this show. This is a shame!” The judge ordered him to leave the courtroom.

Mirzayanau’s mother said loudly that it was a put-up matter because the judge asked the questions that are comfortable for the prosecution. She was ordered to leave the courtroom too.

The trial was adjourned till May 10.

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