Results of European officials’ visits: Fifth political prisoner appeared in Belarus

An activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, involved in the famous Process of Fourteen, Maxim Dashuk, was arrested right in the building of the Internal Affairs department of Maskouski district of Minsk on February 23.

17-year-old Maxim Dashuk was summoned to the police department of Maskouski district of Minsk. He was accused of violation of the order of serving the sentence passed on him as well as on other oppositionists in April last year for participation in protest rallies of market vendors.

The criminal action against the activist of “European Belarus” was initiated on charges relating Article 415 of the Criminal Code of Belarus “evasion from serving the sentence in the form of restriction of freedom”.

“Today Maxim was interrogated in connection with the fact that violations of the order of serving the sentence were committed by him,” the lawyer of the activist Pavel Sapelka said to the Charter’97 press-centre. “The case is that Maxim’s mother is an individual entrepreneur, he has no father. In connection with difficult financial situation of the family Dashuk helped his mother in her work. Because of that about 5 violations of the order of serving the sentence were registered. Maxim faces up to 3 years of restriction of freedom without an alternative”.

In April 2008 before the trial in the Process of Fourteen Maxim’s father died. The underage activist had to work because of the financial situation of the family. Thus he violated the terms of serving the sentence in the form of restriction of freedom. The oppositionist was placed to the remand prison of the Internal Affairs Chief Directorate of Minsk city executive committee in Valadarski Street.

15 minutes before the arrest Maxim Dashuk spoke to the Charter’97 press-centre.

“I had such a situation in my family. I was simply forced to violate rules and help my mother, when you are under a home arrest, you are allowed to leave the house only from 10 a.m. to the noon. When they checked, I wasn’t home,” the guy told.

As said by Maxim Dashuk, he was checked in fact every day. And even several times a day.

“The inspector treated me in a rather prejudiced way,” the oppositionist said. “He insulted me, humiliated me, and allowed himself to use foul speech, rude statements about my political views”.

As we have informed, in the “Process of Fourteen” 14 opposition activists were involved in the case on participation in protest actions of entrepreneurs on January 10. The action was initiated on charges relating Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus.

Youth activist Andrei Kim was sentenced to one and a half year in penal colony by the Central district court of Minsk. He was released in August 2008. Other participants of the “Process of Fourteen” – Alyaksei Bondar, Artsyom Dubski, Mikhal Kryvau, Mikhal Pashkevich, Ales Straltsou, Ales Charnyshou, Tatsyana Tsishkevich, Mikhail Subach and Paval Vinahradau, were sentenced to restriction of freedom for 2 years without sending them to penitentiary institutions. Minor Maxim Dashuk got 1 ½ years of restraint of liberty. Now all of them in fact are under home arrest, under close surveillance, and can be imprisoned for any violation of rules any moment.

There are 5 political prisoners in jails Belarus today. In February leaders of entrepreneurs Mikalay Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka, as well as a participant of the Process of Fourteen Artsyom Dubski, were arrested in February.

The activist of the Young Front also faces up to 3 years of imprisonment under Article 415 of the Criminal Code for alleged evasion of service of sentence to which he had been sentenced for participation in the protest rally of market vendors. He was arrested when he returned to Belarus from Ukraine.

Yury Lyavonau and Mikalay Autukhovich are former political prisoners sentenced to imprisonment on far-fetched charges for defence of rights of entrepreneurs. On February 10 hearings were to be held on conditional early release of Mikalay Autukhovich.

Crackdown in Belarus particularly severed during visits to the country of European officials, members of the European parliament, heads of the governments of the EU countries.