19 April 2024, Friday, 5:59
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Released activist: 250 opposition activists held in custody

Released activist: 250 opposition activists held in custody

Released activists report about hundreds of people arrested ahead of the Ice Hockey World Championship.

The fact of detention of Mikalai Babushkin became known after his release.

Babushkin revealed new facts about preventive arrests of activists ahead of the championship in Minsk, Viasna human rights centre reports.

Mikalai Babushkin says he was detained on May 8 near a McDonald's restaurant in Independence Avenue. Riot policemen turned attention to a label with Euromaidan symbols. The BPF activists was not allowed to call his relatives to tell them about the detention. He was tried on Sunday, May 11. Police officers explained to him that trials are held even at weekends due to a large number of detentions.

Judge Viktoria Shabunia from Minsk's Tsentralny district court sentenced the activist to 5 days in custody for disorderly conduct (article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences).

Babushkin was questioned by KGB officers in the detention centre. They asked if the activist knew how to make explosive devices and why he had attended the Euromaidan camp in Kyiv in early March.

Mikalai Babushkin told human rights defenders that according to information from other arrested activists, far more people were jailed than human rights defenders know. He says 250 men were detained. Viasna human rights centre reported about 32 arrested people.

Babushkin says the people who were detained for violating article 17.3 (public drinking or being drunk in a public place) are sent to labour therapy facilities, a kind of correctional facilities, after the release from the detention centre.

Eight political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights Ales Bialiatski, serve long jail sentences. Scores of opposition activists have been detained in the last two weeks. Human rights defenders explain the arrests by the Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk.

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