On May 18 the trial began on the criminal case against Belarusian anarchists – Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandar Frantskevich, Maksim Vetkin and Eugene Silivonchik. They are all young people accused of committing a series of political actions, in particular, the attack on the Russian Embassy in Minsk in August 2010. They were charged under articles “hooliganism” (Part 2 art.339 Criminal Code), “intentional destruction or damage to property” (Part 2 and 3 st.218 Criminal Code) and “computer sabotage” (Part 2 of Art. 351 Criminal Code). Defendants face up to 12 years imprisonment.
As follows from the statements of the anarchists, the goal of activities was to draw attention to the situation in the country. Their actions were directed against social inequality, repression of activists, the police state and militarism. The Federation of Trade Unions (government-controlled) of Belarus has been accused of bureaucracy and the oppressors of the workers. An attack on the police station in Soligorsk was intended to remind the public that the year before, a citizen of this city and civil rights activist Yana Polyakova commited suicide, after being abused and beaten by police. The procession near the Headquarters of Armed Forces of Belarus had been protesting against the allocation of national budget funds for military exercises, when social problems are growing in the country. The action near the Russian Embassy in Minsk, was an expression of solidarity with the defenders of Khimki Moscow region forests, which were repressed in Russia.
The Zavodski district (of Minsk) court hearing started at 10 am with a ban on photography and videotaping, and the announcement of the charges. The Five young men were charged with organising and participating in the eight political campaigns, in 2009-2010 – in Minsk, Soligorsk and Novopolotsk. Investigators estimate total damage to property from 0,5 to 53 million Belarussian Rubles across six episodes. The most expensive was the car burned in the parking lot of the Russian embassy. All other attacks were symbolic: in three cases, signal flares were used, which could cause fire.
During the hearing Dziadok, Alinevich and Frantskevich said they do not admit the guilt. Vetkin and Silivonchik admit guilt in part. The court dismissed the petition by Mikalai Dziadok to recognize his father as his defender.
A Student at European Humanities University, Mikalai Dziadok denies involvement in all episodes in which he is charged. He told the court that during interrogation he was under pressure of the KGB and GUBOP. “I was interrogated and demanded to tell who set fire to the Russian Embassy and threatened with physical violence, problems in the cell and the place of incarceration” – said Dziadok in court.
Alexander Frantskevich admitted his involvement only in the attack on the police station in Soligorsk, timed for the Days of Action against police brutality. Frantskevich was filming the action, he did not participate in its preparation. Alexander stressed that the thrown flare was not able to trigger the fire.
Ihar Alinevich admitted his participation in the procession near headquarters of the armed forces and the use of a smoke bomb, but he did not consider this a crime. According to the investigator, the march, attended by about 30 people, and smoke bomb “disrupted the work at the headquarters.” A smoke grenade was used and thrown on to the pavement over the fence surrounding the territory of agencies, but it could not disrupt the work at the headquarters. As was stressed by Ihar Alinevich during the hearing: “I have not broken the law, I expressed my opinion about the events in the country.”
Maxim Vetkin confessed of charges on both episodes.
Eugene Silivonchik – in attack on police station in Soligorsk.
The court listened to a comment by a representative of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, who reported that during the action the window was broken, but there was no fire as such – nothing was burned. Material damage of broken windows is estimated at 1.8 million Belarussian Rubles. The court then presented the participants with the protocol about searches and announced the next meeting – May 19, at 10-00.
The court proceedings will be reported from the courtroom at the site belarus.indymedia.org
Additional Information: belarus.indymedia.org, belarus.avtonom.org, avtonom.org/freebelarus, email@example.com
Court sessions are held under the chairmanship of Judge Zhanna Hvojnitskaia and scheduled for the period from 18 to 23 May.
Mikalai Dziadok accused: – The organization of the anti-militarist march near the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Belarus in September 2009, held in protest against the joint Belarusian-Russian military exercises, – In an attack on the casino “Shangri-La in December 2009 in protest against increased social inequality, – In the attack on the building of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus 30 April 2010, timed to coincide with May Day, in protest against the exploitation of workers.
Ihar Alinevich accused: – In the attack on the Russian embassy in Minsk in September 2010 in solidarity with the hostages of Khimki, – The organization of the anti-militarist march near the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Belarus in September 2009, – In an attack on the casino “Shangri-La in December 2009 in protest against increased social inequality, – In the arson of department of Belarusbank 31 May 2010 in protest against the existing economic system, – In an attack on a temporary detention facility in Minsk ul.Okrestina September 6, 2010, demanding the release of detained activists at that time.
Aliaksandar Frantskevich accused: – Participation in the anti-militarist march near the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Belarus in September 2009, – In the attack on the building of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus 30 April 2010, timed to coincide with May Day to protest against the exploitation of workers, – In an attack on police station in Soligorsk, timed for the Days of Action against police brutality, – Hacking into the site of Novopolotsk City Council.
Maxim Vetkin accused: – In the attack on the Russian embassy in Minsk in September 2010 in solidarity with the hostages of Khimki, – In the arson of department of Belarusbank 31 May 2010 in protest against the existing economic system.
Eugene Silivonchik accused: – In an attack on police station in Soligorsk, timed for the Days of Action against police brutality.