The Square after the crackdown on 19 December: no spades, no bottles (Photo)

During the trial of Andrei Sannikov, photographs were shown which were taken immediately after the crackdown on the protest at the Square.

On 29 April, the third day of the trial of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, Pyotr Kuchko appeared with witness evidence. The witness, Kuchko, declared that he was at the protest on 19 December. He came to hear the candidates’ speeches. The protest was peaceful in character. He had learned about it from meetings with opposition candidates. He went there alone. He was on October Square at 19:00, reports “Radio Liberty”.

“The opposition candidates came at about 20:00. Protesters did not have enough space on the Square; music from the skating rink disturbed them,” the witness said.

When people came to Independence Avenue, no-one disturbed them. During the march there was an atmosphere of inspiration and enthusiasm.

Kuchko stated that he stayed at Independence Square after the dispersal of the demonstration. Being an elderly man, the security forces did not pay him any attention. He said that on the Square after the crackdown, there were no bottles, ice-picks, cannisters or anything else that was later shown on Belarusian Television (BT) in the film “Iron on Glass.” The witness called this film a fake and stated that in the evening after the crackdown, he had taken five pictures on his mobile phone of the Square after the dispersal (of the protest). These showed a column of policemen and a vehicle; none of the items which had been shown on BT, and which had been cited in the materials of the case, were to be seen.

Kuchko asked to include these photos in the case. The Prosecutor was against this. The (defence) counsels supported Kuchko.

Kuchko said he was ready to give the camera for expert examination. The judge was amazed at how the police had failed to arrest the witness on the night of 20 December.

Kuchko explained to “Radio Liberty” that he had not been detained on that evening, because clearly they (the security forces) took him to be one of their own. He could freely observe the Square after the crackdown, on which there were absolutely no such objects.

Later in the film “Iron on Glass”, it was shown that on this Square there were allegedly various shovels, bottles, iron bars and cannisters of flammable liquid. Kuchko was outraged at this, and therefore he decided to deny it in court.

The judge refused to accept the photographs as evidence included in the case, since they did not have time.

The defence counsels insist that it is necessary to study the pictures from the camera, to show when the files were created.