Thousands of Belarusians in different countries came out in protest; the authorities accuse a journalist and a doctor of social unrest; dozens of court hearings every day and arrests of activists – the situation is only getting worse
23 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Thousands of Belarusians in different countries took it to the streets in protest
Thousands of sympathetic people, both in Belarus and abroad, came out to participate in the rallies of solidarity with political prisoners, in particular with Ihar Losik, who has been on hunger strike for 40 days. Most of the protests had the format of chains of solidarity and local marches. People with flags and posters lined up along the roads, passing cars honked.
More than 140 people were detained, including the participants in the “Food instead of bombs” charity event when they were distributing food to the poor. Many protesters expressed solidarity with the Russian people who have been protesting against the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and the usurpation of power by Putin. In Russian cities, people also came out with red and white flags chanting “Long live Belarus!” Belarusian and Russian diasporas met at the action of solidarity in their cities under the slogan “Different countries – the same problem”.
Following the death of Raman Bandarenka, authorities accuse a journalist and a doctor of public unrest
The General Prosecutor’s Office completed the investigation of the case of a TUT.BY journalist, Katsiaryna Barysevich, and an anesthesiologist-resuscitator of the Emergency Hospital, Artsiom Sarokin, and sent it to court.
Let’s recall that both of them are under arrest due to the fact that the doctor provided information about the absence of alcohol in the blood of the murdered Raman Bandarenka, and the journalist published this data.
The official statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office says that “the dissemination of information, including false information, to an unlimited number of persons and its opposition to the official comments of state agencies caused a public outcry and created an atmosphere of distrust toward the competent services. It negatively affected the state of law and order and entailed grave consequences. It led to an increase in tension in society, prompted citizens to hold illegal mass events, and other illegal acts.”
The defense believes that there is no corpus delicti in the actions of Katsiaryna Barysevich. In addition, it is not clear from the statement of the prosecutor’s office what particular information it considers false and why it was concluded that her journalistic work caused a public outcry, rather than, for example, the not yet investigated death of Raman Bandarenka.
Court hearings are conducted in a situation where the law does not work – ordinary citizens are being sentenced while members of security services are not
Repressions against the Belarusian citizens who have decided to express their protesting views are gaining momentum. Dozens of preposterous sentences are handed down every day on a variety of charges.
The mail carrier, who disseminated the personal data of the police officers, was sentenced by the court to three months in prison. 56-year-old Larysa Tankashkur was accused of retrieving the names and places of residence of 35 police officers out of the subscribers’ file of the departmental newspaper of the Ministry of Internal Affairs “On Guard” and leaking this data to the administrator of one of the Telegram chats.
18-year-old Safiya Malashevich, who had painted military shields during a September rally, was sentenced to two years in prison. Her friend, Tsikhan Klukach, received a year and a half in prison.
Political prisoner Valery Kalenchyts received 3 years of an open prison. On 10 August, Valery, together with other protesters, rolled a rock onto the road on one of the streets in Minsk.
Valery Laza, a resident of Svetlahorsk, was found guilty of insulting a police officer. He used profanities in his comments on one of the social networks. Valery received 2.5 years of an open prison. Besides, he has to compensate his victim for causing moral damage in the amount of approximately 470 euros.
A former head of the criminal investigation department of one of the Minsk police departments, Dzmitry Kulakouski, was sentenced to 2 years of an open prison. Dzmitry is sure that the case against him has been fabricated. “They decided to teach me a lesson, to show the remaining policemen that it is not worth quitting because that is what will happen.” Dzmitry was released after the verdict was announced, but that was not the end of it. Some relatives, friends, and neighbors came to see Dzmitry after his hearing. They presented Dzmitry’s 15-year-old daughter with balloons, two round white ones, and one in the shape of a red car with white and black accents. Immediately after, Dzmitry’s wife and his 15-year-old daughter were detained and taken to the city police department. At night the girl was released, but her mother remained in the police station.
At the same time, no corpus delicti was found in the actions of the policeman from Zhodzina, who hit the woman in the face. According to the Investigative Committee, the policeman “acted in conditions of reasonable professional risk or extreme necessity.”
Detentions of activists are taking place throughout the country
The authorities have launched an even more vigorous attack on civil society: Tatsiana Lasitsa, a Rechytsa activist for the “Tell the Truth” campaign, Tsimur Hazizau, an activist of the “Honest People” initiative and observer at the recent presidential election, and Maksim Viniarski, an activist of “European Belarus”, were detained.
A volunteer medic and founder of the volunteer initiative “Street Medicine”, Karyna Radchanka, and a volunteer assistant, Tatsiana Labaza, were detained in Minsk while examining homeless people. They were taken to the Kastrychnitski police department. According to the initiative’s Instagram, the trial is scheduled for Monday.
For more information on the events of 23 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: