Minsk: Arrestee over Critical Mass cycling event accused of violence against police

Dzmitry Paliyenka, phot. svaboda.org

Activist Dzmitry Paliyenka, who was arrested after the brutal dispersal of the Critical Mass cycling event on April 29, has been officially charged with using violence against a police officer (Article 364 of the Criminal Code). He has also been transferred to the detention center in the Belarusian city of Zhodzina.

On April 29, about 35 cyclists gathered in central Minsk to take part in a social event that was aimed at ‘reclaiming the streets’, i.e. asserting their rights. Belarusian Helsinki Committee observer Kiryl Kazhenau, who was also detained during the event, is expected to stand trial on May 11. He is charged with violating traffic rules.

The cyclists were moving along the road, but were soon cut up by a police bus. As a result, at least six people were detained. The detainees were reportedly thrown into the bus, forced to face the floor, and suffered blows in their stomachs and faces. The bicycles were thrown on top of the detainees, who were then brought to the district police department.

Later the most of them were released, but Stanislau Kanavalau and Dzmitry Paliyenka remained in custody. On April 30, Kanavalau’s flat was searched; his HDD was seized.

In early May Mr Kanavalau was freed but forced to sign a commitment to appear for interrogations as part of a criminal case opened following the incident.

Belsat.eu, via spring96.org