21 August 2019, Wednesday, 4:56
We are in the same boat

Maksim Viniarski To Authorities: If You Lock Away One Protester, Others Will Take His Place

Maksim Viniarski To Authorities: If You Lock Away One Protester, Others Will Take His Place

The activist has given details about his arrest.

Coordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign Maksim Viniarski has been released after a 13-day arrest. The activist was detained near his house on April 6, on the eve of the prayer for the deliverance of Belarus from the evil.

Maksim Viniarski told about his arrest in an interview with Charter97.org.

– Tell us how and where you were detained.

– It happened at about 21.00 on Friday, April 5. I was returning home and near the entrance I noticed a strange young man who was rooting through a dumpster. As it turned out, it was a police officer who was pretending to be a down-and-outer, but he was with a walkie-talkie, via which he signaled about my arrival. A few seconds later, his colleagues jumped out from behind the corner of the house and the cars standing nearby, and, having seized me, said that I was detained. They immediately pulled the phone out of my hands. They were in civilian clothes, as usual, no one introduced himself, and they did not tell me the reason for the detention either.

I was taken to the Maskouski district police department, where they reported that the protocol for my post on Facebook would be drawn up under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code. I immediately asked to call my lawyer and give the opportunity to inform my relatives about my arrest. My demands were ignored. After that, nobody talked to me at all. According to the protocol, in my post, I called on people to take part in a prayer service on April 7 at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, and thus violated the law.

The time and place of my detention had been falsified. The protocol read that it happened in the Maskouski district police department at 21.55. Allegedly, I myself came to the police department for them to detain me there. After that I was taken to the prison in Akrestsin Street, where I spent three days before the trial.

I was taken to court only on Monday evening. Neither my relatives, nor the lawyer were informed about the time of the trial and my whereabouts. Judge Matyl transferred the trial to the morning of the next day and already on Tuesday delivered an absurd sentence: 13 days of arrest. Absurd, because, following such logic, you can bring to justice any priest, any believer just for inviting him to take part in the prayer at the temple. After all, even according to Lukashenka’s draconian laws, such actions do not require permission.

– You have spent a total of almost a year and a half in prisons. What was the difference between these 13 days and previous arrests?

– Almost everything was as usual. I was not allowed to use the pen, they seized my paper and any writing materials. There were also some innovations: guards forbade lying and sitting on the beds in the daytime – this was very rare before. They reasoned it in a very simply way: it is not a resort, you are serving your sentence, you are to suffer. Even elderly people, those who had some kind of injuries, were forbidden to lie down.

– Why were you detained a few days before the prayer?

– They detained not only me. Volha Nikalaichyk and Mikalai Statkevich were behind bars before the start of the prayer service. Police officers were waiting for them near the houses and apartments of other activists. Previously, it could be attributed to Lukashenka’s usual paranoia, he is afraid of street rallies. Today, perhaps, it’s the predictable reaction of the Satanist, who has lost his mind, to a prayer, to the conversion of people to God.

They hoped that if several people were arrested, there would be fewer people at the rally. But this logic has long been broken. Both the prayer service on April 7 and the march in Brest on April 14 showed that the protest could not be stopped, even if its initiators are locked up. You imprison one person – others come to his place. People come to the square not because Statkevich, Viniarski or Nikalaichyk called them there, but because of the actions of the authorities. They are the perpetrators of the protests, and not the ones who reports about the place and time of the event.