Dashkevich Sentenced to Another Year, Arrests of Activists - Belarus Politics Digest
Published: 04 September 2012
Belarus authorities arrested a number of young activists and sentenced the leader of Young Front Zmicier Dashkevich to one additional year in prison. Other developments relate to parliamentary election campaign, foreign travel bans and court cases involving opposition activists.
The Young Front leader sentenced to another year in prison. On August 28, after a closed hearing of, the local court Gluboksky district has sentenced Dmitry Dashkevich, the leader of an international organisation “The Youth Front”, to another year of imprisonment for “malicious violation of the requirements of the penal establishment’s administration”.
According to his fiancé, Dashkevich does not plan to appeal against this court decision, because it would not be of any use. The human right defenders see this precedent as an attempt by the authorities to apply pressure on the young activist movement.
Dzianis Sadouski sentenced to 10 days in prison. On August 28, a message appeared on Belarus Partisan about the disappearance of Dzianis Sadovsky, the Executive secretary of the Belarusian Christian Democratic Party. As it turned out, he was detained and taken to a court in Minsk, where he was convicted for “disorderly conduct”. Vitali Rymashevsky, a board member of the party, claims the precedent was boldly unlawful: the court was held without a lawyer, and the information on the case was not even presented during the hearing.
Mass arrests of opposition social network moderators. On August 30, administrators of opposition communities in social networks have been arrested in Minsk and Vitebsk. One of them, Pavel Yevtikhiev, was convicted of petty crime and sentenced to 5 days in jail. Another one, Roman Protasevich, after four hours of beating and interrogation, was let go due to his young age. Human rights defenders say that these arrests represent the authorities’ sharp reaction to opposition’s calls to ignore the elections.
A parlamentary candidate arrested and searched in Vitebsk. Aleksei Gavrutikov, running in parliamentary elections in Vitebsk region, has filed a complaint to the public prosecution office, based on his groundless detention by the road police in Vitebsk and unauthorised search of his daughter’s personal belongings (which were claimed by the police officer to be stolen) and his friend’s car. Gavrutikov hopes to bring the police officer to justice.
An activist from Baranovichi has won 500,000 BYR in court against his ex-employer. Grigoriy Grik, who claims he was fired from his workplace due to his active involvement in an opposition party, was appointed to receive a 500,000 Ruble compensation from his employer. However, the activist was not reinstated at his workplace and now has to look for a new job.
A disabled wheelchair user won the case in a non-barrier environment. It is the first time that the court has proclaimed a municipal company liable for disregarding the non-barrier environment norms. Bobruisk municipal road-construction company was obligated to pay the compensation for the moral harm to Sergei Matskevich, a wheelchair user with the first group of disability.
Public hearings regarding proposed construction of cellulose plant in Svetlagorsk. On August 17, a public hearing regarding the assessment of potential environmental threat of the cellulose plant planned to be built in town took place. Despite the massive disagreement of local people, they were not given an opportunity to speak during the hearing or merely put questions to the officials personally. People claim that the hearing was played by the authorities’ scenario.
Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.