Elections in Lukashenka’s way: “European Belarus” activist arrested for 17 days

Yauhen Afnahel, activist of the “European Belarus” civil campaign, one of the leaders of the Belarusian youth leaders, was sentenced to 10 days of arrest by the court of the Tsentralny district of Minsk on 28 June. Taking into account that earlier the activist had got 7 days of arrest in absentia for participating in a demonstration on 1 May, he will have to spend 17 days in a jail.

Yauhen Afnahel was detained by riot militiamen in the Minsk center on 27 June. He spent the night in the special detention center on Akrestin Street, and on 28 June judge of the Tsentralny district court of Minsk Tatsyana Paulyuchuk sentenced the activist to 10 days of arrest for “using of foul language in public”. Traditionally, this article of the Code of Administrative Offences is used to arrest oppositionists in Belarus. As usual witnesses at the trial were riot militia officers, who had detained the activist.

It should be reminded that earlier Yauhen Afnahel was sentenced in absentia to 7 days of arrest by the Pershamaiski district court.

More than 100 activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” came to the National library on 1 May and unfurled dozens of European flags on the official demonstration. 1 May is celebrated as Labour Day in Belarus. Besides, this date is significant both for Europe and Belarus: four years ago ten new states joined the European Union and the EU borders extended to our country.

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

About 30 people were detained during the official demonstration. Mikola Statkevich, one of the leaders of the “European Belarus”, served 15 days of arrest for this action earlier. “European Belarus” activist Paval Yukhnevich and Young Front leaders Zmitser Dashkevich and Artur Finkevich were sentenced in absentia, too. According to the Code of Administrative Offences, the decision of the Pershamaiski district court contradicts the law and is ineligible.

So, “parliamentary election campaign” in Belarus has again begun with arrests of opposition leaders. Mass arrests of democrats were conducted in Belarus before the “parliamentary elections” of 2004, and before the “presidential elections” of 2006. Shortly before the arrest of Yauhen Afnahel, one more “European Belarus” activist Alyaksandr Atroshchankau got 15 days of arrest on a vain charge.

It should be reminded that youth organisations and representatives of the civil society call to boycott the “parliamentary elections”, which are to be held in September. Judging by arrests of youth leaders, the authorities are in great fear of the boycott of the “elections”…