Young leaders tried in absentia day before Putin’s visit to Minsk

Activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Pavel Yukhnevich and Yauhen Afnahel has been tried in absentia and sentenced to 7 days of arrest for participation in the official rally on May Day. As we have informed, such verdicts have been delivered in the court of Pershamajski district of Minsk to leaders of the Young Front Zmitser Dashkevich and Artur Finkevich.

“He was shouting slogans, calling to Belarus’ joining the EU, by these actions violated the established order of organising and holding of mass events in the Republic of Belarus,” says the decision of the Pershamajski district court on arrest of Pavel Yukhnevich and Yauhen Afnagel.

It is necessary to note that neither Pavel Yukhnevich, nor Yauhen Afnagel, nor Zmitser Dashkevich, nor Artur Finkevich, weren’t summoned to court or to police department since 1 May. Moreover, according to part 1 of article 11.4 of the Administrative Procedure Code a judge doesn’t have the right to hear the case in absence of an accused, except the situations, when the accused person has confessed his or her guilt, or has repeatedly ignored requests for summons. According to the Code on Administrative Offences, the decision of the court violates the law and is not legally valid.

More than 100 activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” came to the National Library on 1 May and rose up dozens of European flags at the official rally. 1 May is officially marked in Belarus as Labour Day. Besides, this date has an important meaning both for Europe and for Belarus: four years ago 10 new states joined the European Union and the EU border extended to our country.

As soon as EU flags appeared among the red-green official flags at the rally, riot militiamen run up to oppositionists. Riot militiamen snatched EU flags away, broke flagpoles, took away blue cloths with stars.

About 30 people were detained at the official rally. Mikola Statkevich, one of the leaders of “European Belarus,” and Artur Finkevich, Young Front deputy head, were convicted for this action earlier.

Tomorrow a regular session of CIS countries Prime Minister Council will take place in Minsk. The head of government of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin is to arrive to Minsk on May 23 in the morning. It is possible that the trials in absentia are connected with the visit of the former Russian president to Minsk. During the latest visit of the Russian head to Minsk activists of the “European Belarus” met him with a protest rally under a slogan “Putin, Go Home!”