Day 4. Trials of peaceful protesters in Belarus (UPD)

New trials of participants in Wednesday’s peaceful protests: hearings are being held in Minsk, Mahiliou and Hrodna.

According to human rights activists, more than 50 people were detained in Belarus. Some were released after spending a few hours in a police station, but protocols were drawn upon the best part of the detainees. Arresting protesters, plainclothes policemen refused to show their IDs, used violence and even fired tear gas.

49 persons are on trial today, human rights center Viasna (Spring) reports.

It should be noted that it is the riot policemen who are witnessing at the hearings. In most cases, the detainees are sentenced to 13, 14 or 15 days in jail. The authorities are making difficulties to human rights defenders and reporters who are performing their professional duties.

11.00 24 persons have been taken to Tsentralny district court in Minsk; 10 cases are to be considered in Pershamayski district court of the city.

Minsk: Plainclothes police taking people away

11.50 People who were not taking part in yesterday’s protest rally are being tried, our correspondent reports from Pershamayski district court in Minsk. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, i.e. near the Academy of Sciences, and got arrested by the police. One of them, a student, says that she was just going to the pharmacy for medicines. Girls are sentenced to 13 days in custody, men – to 15.

Yauhen Dzyatkouski – 15 days.

11 persons are on trial for ‘disorderly conduct’ and ‘disobedience to officials’ orders’.

12.30 14 people are to be tried in Savetski district court for ‘disobedience to officials’ orders’; two persons – for ‘intentional infliction of physical harm’. According to the activists, who came to support the detained, the police are trying to drive them away, threaten and film them.

12.40 Arseniy Kanapliou has been sentenced to 13 days in jail.

Pershamayski court: two men has been sentenced to 13 and 15 days in custody.

13.10 Some detainees were reportedly tortured, our journalist Volha Chaychyts says with reference to interviewees.

According to a human rights activist, there has been no opportunity to defend those who are being tried. „They [police] simply prevented me from leaving the building. Only when being live on air I called on people to contact HRC Viasna, then they let me go.”

Moreover, policemen barred journalists from filming and reporting.

14:00 Alena Dubovik who has just been sentenced to 12 days in custody for her refusal to obey to a police officer who wanted her to remove a mask has gone on hunger strike.

15:20 Tsentralny district court: detainee Andrey Navakouski has apparently been severely beaten.

Paramedics arrived and took detainee Anton Danilau to hospital.

In most cases, judges of the court sentence people to 12 days in jail.

Pavel Fadzeyeu, who was arrested in Savetski district yesterday, said that he had been beaten by the police. His belongings were seized; no protocol was drawn up on him.

According to deputy chairman if HRC Viasna Valyantsin Stefanovich, the same policemen appear as witnesses at most trials. They claim that they were in uniform when arresting people.

“The impression is that some Belarusian ‘parasites’ suddenly began to swear, scream, swing their arms, and then failed to obey to the policemen’s orders,” the human rights activist stresses.

On March 15, Constitution Day, marches of non-parasites took place in Minsk, Mahiliou and Hrodna. According to people who protesting the so-called ‘parasite’ law, Lukashenka’s Decree Nr 3 is unconstitutional.

Decree Nr 3 signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in April, 2015 established the obligation of the citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in Belarus, stateless persons, who did not participate in the financing of public spending or participated in such financing less than 183 days (six months – ed.) in the past year, to pay a fee of 20 basic units (appr. $230).