Dashkevich Sentenced to Another Year, Arrests of Activists - Belarus Politics Digest

Zmicier Dashkevich behind bars

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 prisonOn 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.

Arrests

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.

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.

A BNF party candidate plans to quit the elections. Aleksandr Romanovich, a BNF party candidate in Pinsk, during his speech for the Belarus-2 TV-channel, pronounced that the upcoming parliamentary elections are organized unfairly and in fact are a mere formality. He promised that, unless the regime changes his authoritarian policy and releases all political prisoners, he will withdraw his candidature from the election lists.
 
Travel ban
 
Lawyer Oleg Volchek has lost the court case, but is not on travel ban anymore. On August 22, the Central District court in Minsk has denied sustaining the claim of lawyer Oleg Volchek on illegal conduct of MIA and the Ministry of Justice, due to which his name appeared in the list of persons restricted to travel abroad. Volchek claims he filed a lawsuit on July 11, because he had run out of means to resolve the issue via communicating with different bodies of authorities. He maintains that his appearance in the list of people restricted to leave the territory of RB is an attempt by the authorities to apply pressure on a human right activist. After the court, however, he was informed that his name was put off the travel banned list.
 
As of the end of the last week, the Belarusian following civic and political activists were removed from GOB’s travel ban list: Oleg Volchek; Andrei Bondarenko; Valentin Stefanovich; ZhannacLitvina; Garry Pogonyailo; Anatoly Lebedko; Oleg Gulak; Viktor KorneenkoValeriy Ukhnalev; MikhailcYanchuk; and Lev Margolin.

Other 

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.

 

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