16 October 2019, Wednesday, 3:58
We are in the same boat

Yauhen Afnahel: Law-Enforcers, Judges Were Nervous During Trial Over ‘Trade Unions Case’

Yauhen Afnahel: Law-Enforcers, Judges Were Nervous During Trial Over ‘Trade Unions Case’

The regime fears solidarity, courage and persistance.

The Minsk city court considered the appeal of leaders of the independent trade union REP Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik today. The Board of Judges for Criminal Cases chaired by Siarhei Khrypach decided to uphold the unlawful sentence in the “trade unions case”.

Charter97.org addressed to Yauhen Afnahel, the coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign, who was present at the hearing, for comments:

- Many people came to the court to support Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik,about 150 people from different organizations. Among them were activists of the independent trade union REP, the European Belarus civil campaign, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada), human rights activists and others. Not all people could get into the courtroom. About 50 people were forced to wait for the outcome of the process at the doors of the court building.

It was evident that judges, prosecutors, court staff, and law enforcement officers found such a number of people very annoying, because there were police bosses near the court building. Moreover, among them were the heads of the police departments of neighboring districts, which is quite unusual.

In general, court officials were visibly nervous. For example, there was a small conflict, when activist of the REP Trade Union Halina Smirnova took out the union flag. The police immediately rushed at her; they tried to take away the flag, but the people did not let it happen.

I’d like to note that the police officers very nervously reacted to the photo and video-shooting. It is evident that the most dangerous thing for the regime, which we can oppose to it, is solidarity. Today's trial showed that specific representatives of the authorities: judges, law enforcement officers, are afraid of this particular solidarity.

The REP Trade Union was one of the driving forces on par with other protesters of the “parasites” in 2017. Union activists all the time provide assistance to people, especially in the regions that face the authorities’ arbitrariness.

Henadz Fiadynuch made a wonderful speech today in court. He was applauded to for several minutes. In this speech, he frankly told what he thought about the present court and the authorities. The regime really fears this.

It was clear beforehand that the authorities would not give up pressure on the leaders of the trade union and would not change their decision. It was understandable that the task of all this falsified case is simply to isolate the union leaders on the eve of possible protests or some other important political campaign in the country.

I emphasize that today's process has very clearly shown that the most important thing that the regime is afraid of is our solidarity, mutual assistance, courage and persistance.

It was evident that the court did not expect so many people. This massiveness made the judges and security officials nervous. Therefore, if we continue to further defend our own people, not to retreat, demonstrate our solidarity, then the regime will simply have nothing to oppose.