Inquiry lasted 19 hours. Finally they took off the handcuffs

Valentina Alinevich, mother of the political prisoner Ihar Alinevich passed to our editorial staff the extracts from her son’s diary.

“I want people to pay attention to what’s happening in our country,- says Valentina. Today it’s an inhuman treatment and tortures of our relatives and children, but tomorrow the same thing can happen to you and your children”.

The extracts from Ihar Alinevich’s diary were published by the web site

I could say only “I don’t know”, “No, I wasn’t there” and I was loosing consciousness again. Second rule says “Don’t be afraid”. The one who is scared, looses everything. If you show you’re frightened—they’ll get you. They took this hat form my eyes for a while. There was only one man sitting at the table: “You’re a good guy. Engineer, healthy life-style, doing sports… You shouldn’t ruin yourself like this. I understand that many things you’re (meaning opposition) saying is right, but the realization is suffering. Why don’t you just let it down?”

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Detentions and prosecutions against the initiative ‘Food Not Bombs’ in Minsk

From the first months of the initiative ‘Food Not Bombs’ in Minsk, the participants were faced with police attention. Initially, these ‘encounters’ were irregular and probably coincidental. But since the end of 2009 the police was deliberately attending food distribution. ABC Belarus collected references to these situations from open sources, describing only part of all the events, in order to give some idea about the development and escalation of the conflict.
The first food distribution of Food Not Bombs in Minsk was held in the summer of 2005. The cops attended the place of the action a month later, when some people from the neighbourhood called the police patrol. Soon, the participants were forced to relocate because of the fights between two men who came to eat, which provoked the police to stop the distribution. After the change of the meeting place, the police often appeared, but without any consequences. The rank and file police officers have not been interested in the initiative; they usually spoke a couple of standard phrases, or copied the IDs of the people, and then left. The movement evolved, with a new group. In early 2009 members of the groups began to distribute food in Mikhailovsky Park, near the train station.

The interior ministry as well as the KGB have repeatedly obstructed the free food distribution to the homeless of Minsk and Brest. More precisely, from late 2009 the authorities’ attention was drawn to the spot in Mikhailovsky Park, where the initiative shared free vegan meals as a protest to army expenditures and poverty. The Belarusian Interior Minister Anatoly Kuleshov, somehow passing through the square, witnessed one of the actions and soon gave an investigation order. Vitaly Kozlov of the Oktyabrsky police department was appointed head of the investigations. The policemen tried to influence the initiative using different methods each time: activists’ IDs were copied and sent for verification to police departments; cops dispersed the crowd and stopped the food distribution, or completely blocked the square, but also persuaded the participants to change their meeting place, and so on. The police then disappeared, but then re-appeared in Food Not Bombs events. All this went on until the end of 2010. During this period, the main police efforts were directed on stopping the free meals in Minsk.

By early 2011 the KGB intervened in the conflict. First they came alone, but the next time they brought special forces with them. They did not interfere with most of the initiative’s distributions, but attempted to verify the personal details of all attendants. In late 2011 the police were regularly showing up at the gathering point near the Vostok metro station. More verification of participants was carried out. Soon the ‘verified’ people were attended by the KGB agents at their place of work or studies. Some were invited to ‘talk’. Security officers have been trying to understand the structure of the movement and to clarify the roles of all participants. They were especially interested in the initiative’s communication with the anarchists. They have been monitoring the Russian social network service and FNB blog that posted a concert poster calling for support of the Food Not Bombs international campaign on March 24th, 2012, when nearly 120 people were reportedly detained and confronted with police brutality during the evening benefit gig, which took place in Minsk MTZ Palace of Culture. Nearly 16 people have been held in custody and sentenced to fines.

To be continued

Translated by ContraInfo

120 visitors of a punk concert detained in Minsk

[:en]Let us remind you that a punk concert in support of the group “Food not Bombs” (the movement that serves vegan and vegetarian food for the homeless) had to take place in Minsk MTZ House of Culture on March 24. However, the concert had hardly begun when special forces rushed into the building and detained almost all the present – about a hundred people. Witnesses claim that a packet with drugs was allegedly planted in the concert hall during the arrest.

34 girls got to the Partyzanski district police department. They were released several hours later after they’d given explanations on use or dissemination of drugs. They were also fingerprinted. Only one girl, Alena Dubovik, remained in the police department and was transported to the Akrestsina street detention center later.

The guys were delivered to the Central and Lenin district police departments right after detention, the underage were let go. They were also fingerprinted. Other stayed in the police departments till late at night, some of them were beaten. The guys were also forced to have their saliva tested (genotype analysis). The police also photographed them. The detainees were released by small groups. 15 people were delivered to the Akrestsina street detention center after 2 a.m.

The following people have been later arrested for 2 days: Pavel Belanau, Pavel Hrynevіch, Alyaksandr Pedash, Andrei Stsyapanau and Dzmіtry Harlanchuk. Dzmitry Hurau has been fined for 70 thousand roubles, Alyaksandr Yarashevich – for 105 thousands, Yauhen Ulasenka and Pavel Dzyarkach – for 140 thousands, Mikita Ulasenka, Uladzimir Dzmitrachkou and Yauhen Rubashka – for 175 thousands.

According to the website, one of the detained, Ihar Truhanovich, was taken to hospital on March 25. He is in hospital with a slight concussion and he may stand trial later. Alena Dubovik’s sentence has not been pronounced yet.

Translated by Euroradio

Brief review of the process of Belarusian anarchists

The preliminary investigation into the criminal case was accompanied with serious process violations of the convicts’ rights, including: arbitrary detention, violations of the terms and procedures of detention established by the Criminal-Process Code of the Republic of Belarus (CPC), violation of the right to defense, and violation of the presumption of innocence. The detention of I.Alinevich in Moscow and his transportation to the KGB pre-trial prison in Minsk were accompanied with violations of legal procedures including the procedure of extradition of Belarusian citizens to Belarus from the Russian Federation.

During the trial, I.Alinevich, M.Dziadok and A.Frantskevich stated that unlawful methods were used towards them during the preliminary investigation, including psychological pressurization and torture. Several witnesses, who refused from the testimonies given during the preliminary investigation, also stated about the use of torture towards them.

The principle of the equality of sides in the presentation of evidence was ignored during the trial, which had a negative impact on the objectivity and impartiality of the court proceedings.

In such circumstances the Human Rights Center Viasna states that: gross violations of the convicts’ rights give reasons to think that the trial wasn’t objective and impartial, and the issued verdicts are groundless and unlawful;

violations of rights of the convicts make it impossible to consider them as lawfully convicted;

the verdicts that were issued in such circumstances must be abolished and reviewed.

The preliminary investigation into this case was accompanied with grave process violations including:

Arbitrary detentions and violations of legal procedures.

The investigation committed gross violations of process rights of the accused since the initiation of the case. On 3 September 2010 about 50 people were detained all over the country. The main reason for the detention was not existence of sufficient grounds, determined by the CPC, but their membership in civil movements, mainly of ecological and anarchist nature. The detentions were conducted with violations of the terms that are determined by the CPC. The unlawful procedure of “re-detention” was used towards some of the detainees: they weren’t released after three days of detention – a new detention report was composed against each detainee instead of it. In particular, M.Dziadok was detained 7 times (and spent a total of 21 days in detention), and the majority of the detainees were detained 3 times (and spent 9 days in detention).

The accused Ihar Alinevich was forcibly kidnapped in Moscow by representatives of unidentified secret services and taken to the pre-trial prison of the KGB in Minsk. His detention was conducted with violation of the established procedures, including the procedure of extradition of Belarusian citizens from the Russian Federation.

This practice witnesses that unlawful and arbitrary detentions were used towards the accused. It is a gross violation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the Republic of Belarus.

Right to defense

As a result of the practice of “re-detention” during which each new detention was conducted by another organ of preliminary investigation, the accused were often deprived of the possibility to exercise their right to legal defense. The counsels were unable to receive any information about the location of their clients for several days. Neither were they able to find which investigation organ was responsible for the investigation at a concrete period of time.

For instance, A.Frantskevich’s counsel didn’t receive any information about his client and meet with him for three days. I.Alinevich was also deprived of the right to legal defense during his detention by representatives of unidentified secret services in Moscow and transportation to Belarus. As a result, he had no opportunity to appeal his detention.

Meanwhile, the CPC guarantees the right to access to legal defense within 24 hours since the moment of detention. These circumstances witness that the defendants’ right to legal defense was grossly violated, despite the guarantees provided by Article 62 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the ICCPR.

Psychological pressurization, tortures, cruel and inhuman treatment

During the court hearings, I.Alinevich, M.Dziadok and A.Frantskevich stated about psychological pressurization and tortures, demands to confess their guilt and give false testimonies against other people. Such actions of the investigation were also confirmed by the witnesses Ihar Bahachyk, Aliaksandr Buhayou, Kseniya Kauko, Anton Novikau, Siarhei Sliusar, Aliaksei Zhynherouski and Dzianis Bystryk (whose testimony wasn’t read in the court).

In particular, M.Dziadok stated that the investigation had threatened him with psychical lynching, trouble in the prison cell and in the prison where he would serve his term. He also called the surname of one of the police officers – lieutenant colonel Yaroshyn. Aliaksandr Frantskevich stated that the investigation had forced him to confess his guilt and give false testimony against others, threatening with a large prison term otherwise. Ihar Alinevich told how he had been kidnapped from Moscow: he had been transported in handcuffs for one day and a cap had been pulled on his eyes during a part of the travel.

At the very beginning, he wasn’t interrogated at the pre-trial prison of the KGB. Instead, he was forced to confess his guilt and subject to psychological pressurization by means of improvised telephone calls to his grandmother in the night time. Aliaksei Zhynherouski (a witness, who used to be an accused for quite a long time) was threatened with a long prison term and problems in the family and at the place of study. He was interrogated at the KGB without having any counsel, and was threatened that he wouldn’t be let out.

The investigators shouted on witness Kseniya Kauko during an interrogation that lasted for one day,  trying to make her give a false testimony against M.Dziadok. Witness Ihar Bahatchyk also stated about pressurization on the part of the KGB and the Main Bureau of counteraction to organized crime. He was forced to give a false testimony against M.Dziadok, was threatened with problems at the places of work of study, and trouble at the places of work of his parents (who were summonsed to interrogations as well). He was also threatened with sexual harassment in the prison in Akrestsin Street.

While interrogating convict Aliaksandr Buhayou in Revaliutsyinaya Street, investigator Litvinski hit him with a truncheon in face and patella. Threats were also used towards witness Siarhei Sliusar. Witness Anton Novik also told about process violations and pressurization on the part of the investigation. All aforementioned people spent some time in detention.

The accused M.Dziadok and A.Frantskevich had serious health problems. Nevertheless, they were kept in custody for a long time, and received untimely and insufficient medical aid.

These facts raise doubts in the reliability of the testimonies given by the convicts and the witnesses during the preliminary investigation, whose materials became the basis for the accusative court verdicts.

Violation of the principle of equality of sides on presentation of evidence at the trial

The principle of the equality of sides in presentation of evidence wasn’t observed to a full extent during the court proceedings. Substantial motions of the defense, including motions for the interrogation of witnesses, were often dismissed by the court, which had a negative impact on the objectivity of the trial and witnessed its accusative bias.

According to human rights defenders, a part of the charges which served as the basis for the accusative verdicts, don’t contain corpus delicti. It concerns the episode, incriminated to I.Alinevich, M.Dziadok and A.Frantskevich, that concerned the protest rally held on 19 September 2009 near the General Staff of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus. During the rally, a smoke pot was thrown to the territory of the General Staff. This unauthorized rally was essentially peaceful and was aimed at expression of protest against the joint Russian-Belarusian military training that were held in Belarus at that time. Though throwing of the smoke pot to the territory of the General Staff contained corpus delicti of an offense, it didn’t present any danger to life and health of citizens, didn’t lead to disorganization of the work of this institution and didn’t inflict any material damage. According to our opinion, these actions of the convicts do not constitute corpus delicti of any offense punishable by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (CC).


On 24 May 2010 the Zavadski District Court of Minsk considered the criminal case of I.Alinevich (charged on 5 episodes under Article 339, part of the CC, “hooliganism, committed by a group of individuals, and Article 218, parts 2 and 3 of the CC, “damage of property in a generally dangerous way and in an especially large scale”), M.Dziadok (charged on 3 episodes, under Article 339, part 2 and 218, part 2), A.Frantskevich (charged on 4 episodes under Article 339, part 2, Article 218, part 2, Article 349, part 2, “unauthorized access to computer information”, Article 351, “computer sabotage, accompanied with unauthorized access to a computer system” and Article 354, “creation, use or distribution of harmful software”), Ya.Silivonchyk (charged on 1 episode in Salihorsk under under Article 339, part 2 and Article 218, part 2) and M.Vetkin (charged on 2 episodes under Article 339, part 2 and Article 218, part 3).

On 27 May 2011, according to the announced verdict:

Ihar Alinevich was sentenced to 8 years in a medium-security colony with confiscation of his car;

Mikalai Dziadok – to 3 years in in a medium-security colony;

Yauhen Silivonchyk – 1.5 years of personal restraint;

Maksim Vetkin – to 4 years of personal restraint.

Charges under Article 218, part 2 of the Criminal Code were dropped in a number of accusative episodes. The charges of assault on the delinquents’ isolation center on 6 September 2010 were removed as well.


Short update on the recent repressions against anarchists in Belarus

As of right now four Belarussian anarchists are under arrest, accused of having organised a series of direct actions 2009-2010.

Everything started long before last September (2010). The years 2009-2010 were rich in radical actions claimed by Belarusian anarchists. Such as:

*an illegal anti-militarist demonstration in September 2009 against a mutual Russian-Belarusian war exercise, when a Joint Staff was attacked with a smoke grenade.

* an attack on a Minsk casino using paint bulbs and flares in protest of the relocation of most Russian casinos to Belarus after the law banning casinos in Russia was passed.

* an attack on a police station in Soligorsk during the days of common action against the police (windows were broken and a flare was thrown inside)

* an attack on the Headquarters of the Trade Union Federation on the 1st May with the statement that the state and this formal organisation uses workers in its interests, and doesn’t defend their rights, often preventing workers from cooperation with each other and organizing strikes.

* an attack on a branch of Belarusbank as a protest against the financial system in the world (molotov-cocktails)

and finally

* an attack on the Russian embassy in Minsk as a solidarity action with Khimki arrestees on the 30th August 2010 where a car belonging to the embassy was burnt.

This was the last drop for the regime as the attack was carried out in a period of harsh antagonism between the leaders of Russia and Belarus. Before the action was claimed by anarchists each country had already blamed the other one for having maneuvered the provocation. On August 3rd 8 people in 3 different flats were detained and 7 of them were put in a detention center for 9 days. During this period another radical action took place

* an attack on the detention center with the statement to set free all detainees. The attackers set fire to a door of the detention centre. Later the video was removed from youtube.

After 9 days 5 of the 7 people are set free, but other people are detained in the meantime. One of them, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, is accused of the attack on the police station in Soligorsk. He admits that he was filming the event.

The other guy, Mikalai Dziadok, is kept in the detention facility for different reasons till October 1st, when he is accused of organising last year’s anti-militarist action. In the meantime they also find witnesses who claim that he also organised an attack on the casino and the House of Trade Unions. All episodes mentioned above are now united under one case. Mikalaj denies his guilt.

* In October the KGB quarters in Bobrujsk are attacked with Molotov-cocktails. They take a guy who lives in the neighbourhood, Siarhei Sliusar, and keep him for 10 days without accusations. (He had also been detained for 9 days in September)

On the 4th of November Maxim Vetkin is arrested and accused of an attack on the Russian embassy and on Belarusbank. He admits his guilt. He is also giving testimony against other people, so we have withdrawn support from him.

On the 17th of November Dzianis Bystryk is detained, where he is told that Maxim gave testimony that he was filming the action at the Russian embassy. He admits his fault but is set free without accusations so that he can contact one of the other suspects, Ihar Alinevich, and have him detained, but eventually the plot is not successful.

On the 29th of November Ihar Alinevich is detained in Moscow, when trying to meet his comrade Anton Laptsionak (one of those detained on September 3rd). He is accused of the attack on the Russian embassy and is held in the KGB remand prison. Ihar admits that he was participating in the anti- militarist action, but doesn’t consider it a criminal act. He denies all other accusations.

On the 17th of January Jauhen Vas’kovich, a journalist from the newspaper “Bobruiski courier,” a nationalist democrat without connections to the anarchist movement, Artsiom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramolatau are detained and accused of the attack on the KGB headquarters in Bobruisk. The period of investigation for all of the arrested is prolonged till April 12th. All of them may face up to 10 or 12 years of imprisonment. It appears that they are also accused of “intentional destruction of property committed by an organised group (7 to 12 years of imprisonment).”

Addresses of prisoners for support:

Mikalaj Dziadok, SIZO-1, ul. Volodarskogo 2, 220050 Minsk, Belarus

Aliaksandr Frantskevich, k. 46 SIZO-1, ul. Volodarskogo 2, 220050 Minsk, Belarus

Ihar Alinevich, P.O. Box 8, Glavpochtampt, 220050 Minsk, Belarus (Unfortunately Ihar is only allowed correspondence in Belarusian and Russian language, but you may send postcards and such)