Monday’s hearing of the case of Ales Lahvinets, a reputed Belarusian political scientist and leader of the movement For Freedom, turned into a tragicomedy: the defendant was sentenced to 10 days in prison.
The witness – a riot policeman – claimed in court that Lahvinets was walking down the street and swearing. And then he several times hit his head on the car seat while he was transported to the police station.
On March 25, Belarusians came to main squares of their cities to protest the ‘parasite’ law and celebrate Freedom Day. But the Minsk riot police brutally dispersed the protest. Hundreds of people – even women, elderly people, journalists and ordinary passers-by – were arrested, battered and jailed. On Monday, judicial machinery was launched.
The courts were full of the detainees’ relatives and friends who were worried about the fate of their loved ones. Some of them did not intend to participate in the rally.
“Misha Tsyhankou and Dzima Manets were going to the rehearsal. We were waiting for them in the hall, but they just got into this cordon and disappeared. We were looking for them dor a day and finally found here,” says Dzmitry Pyshny, a fifth-year student of the Belarusian National Technical University.
Ales Lahvinets, who was severely beaten by riot police (OMON) on March 23, was brought to the hearing from hospital. His nose was broken; the politiciam has a head injury.
“I am accused of disorderly behavior, but I did not do anything. Thuggish-looking strangers came out of the blue, surrounded my son and me, pushed us into a minibus and threw me onto the floor,” he said.
According to riot policemen’ evidence, Lahvinets began beating his head against the car seat, which induced his craniocerebral trauma. The judge believed them; that is why Lahvinets will have to spend 10 days in arrest.
Children holding a poster ‘Free Our Daddy’ were spotted near a courtroom in Tsentralny district court of Minsk. Their father, Dzyanis Sadouski, one of those who asked to Minsk authorities to authorize a rally on 25 March, was BYN 1,840 fined ($982).
Dozens of other people will have to boost the state budget – the unemployed, students, pensioners, civil servants, journalists and human rights activists, people of different professions and income were thrown in jail and accused of various offenses.
About a hundred of detainees faced trials on Monday. Minsk maxi driver Leanid Kulakou was sentenced to 25 days in prison. Heavy sentences were given to activists, journalists and human rights activists in Vitsebsk, Homiel, Mahiliou, Babruisk, Brest.
Belarus police against Belarusians: Brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Minsk (ENG video)