Tsikhanouskaya, Kalesnikava, and Tsepkalo awarded the Peace and Human Rights Prize; human rights activist Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska released from the pre-trial detention center; the authorities keep sentencing people and Belarusians keep protesting
15 April 2021 | Voice of Belarus
Tsikhanouskaya, Kalesnikava, and Tsepkalo were awarded the Peace and Human Rights Prize
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kalesnikava, and Veronica Tsepkalo were awarded the Lev Kopelev Prize for Peace and Human Rights for year 2021. The prize was awarded for their “courageous fight for democracy and against the falsification of the presidential elections in Belarus”.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards ceremony will be held online. This prestigious German prize is traditionally awarded in Cologne.
Belarusians continue to protest
And in the afternoon, a group of young women went for a walk carrying white-red-white umbrellas again. They have been taking such walks for more than four months even though it attracts attention of the security forces and ends up with detentions.
There is hardly any information available about US citizen Youras Ziankovich, detained by the KGB
Barrister Youras Ziankovich was allowed to see a lawyer. Ziankovich was detained in Moscow. Now he is in the KGB pre-trial detention center in Minsk.
The state lawyer confirmed that Ziankovich was detained in Moscow by the Belarusian special services, but when asked to explain how this could have happened, he replied: “Well, you understand”. He added that Youras was a suspect in a case, but was unable to elaborate further. The US Embassy in Belarus, in turn, commented on the detention of Youras Ziankovich, the citizen of the United States and Belarus. The diplomats would not provide specific answers about the embassy’s assessment of the detention of a US citizen by the Belarusian special services and whether the consul has already visited Ziankovich in the KGB pre-trial detention center. The embassy only stressed that it was always ready to provide consular services in an event of an American citizen’s arrest.
Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska is released from jail
Human rights activist Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska has been released from the pre-trial detention center No. 1 after 10 days of detention. She was never charged.
Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska is one of the organizers of the exhibition “The Machine Breathes, but I Don’t”. On 5 April, a few days after the exhibition closed down, she was detained and her house was searched twice.
Also today it became known that the husband of the detained human rights activist will be deported from Belarus for a 10 year period.
The third group of accused is being tried in court in the “round dance” case in Brest
In Brest the third group of accused is currently being tried in court in the criminal case of a protest round dance at an intersection in the city center that took place on 13 September of last year.
There were 14 people in the dock this time. They include a mother of four children, an orthopaedic trauma doctor, accountants, engineers, entrepreneurs, and members of the working professions.
Today, eleven people accused in the case have demanded to ensure the publicity of the trial by refusing to sit down until the media and the public were allowed into the courtroom. As a result, after several breaks, the press and spectators who remained in the hall were allowed into the courtroom.
A new day brings new sentences and more jail time
The Prosecutor General’s Office announced statistics on “protest” criminal cases – there are more than 3,000 of them (600 in the last month).
Below are the most notorious examples of verdicts from 15 April alone.
In Voranava, a woman was sentenced to 1.5 years of probation for a “rude” social media comment about a judge.
In Minsk, a man was sentenced to 3 years in prison for kicking a police car at a protest on 13 September.
A woman from Minsk was given 2 years of probation for insulting the head of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna in the local Telegram chat.