2021-09-10
Illustrative photo.

On 9 September, police detained 19-year-old Viktoryia Liovina as she was walking in the street in Minsk. Apparently, the policemen did not like her hair color. The police department drew up a protocol under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code. The protocol stated that “she held a picket with her white-red-white hairstyle”.

Viktoryia’s trial took place on the same day. Judge Natallia Buhuk asked Viktoryia to turn around in front of the camera to demonstrate her hair color. Noting that the Viktoryia had “a very interesting and original hairstyle”, the judge declared her guilty of picketing and fined her over $920.

61-year-old Mikhail Dubina made a bet in an argument with two men in a trolleybus saying that he would shout “Long live Belarus”. It turned out that his challengers were policemen in plain clothes. The man was detained at a bus stop and taken to the police department. Mikhail was accused of an unsanctioned rally (Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code) and punished with 30 days of arrest.

Senior citizens Iryna Novik, Natallia Aheichyk and Ala Buyankava, who had previously been tried for reading books in the Belarusian language on a train, were detained for taking part in a protest action in support of Maksim Znak and Maria Kalesnikava. Judge Dzmitry Karsiuk found them guilty and sentenced Natallia Aheichyk to 30 days of arrest. Iryna Novik and Ala Buyankava received 15 days of arrest each.

In July 2021, police officers detained a married couple Siarhei Krupenich and Nastassia Krupenich-Kandratsieva. They were sentenced to 41 days each for sharing information from opposition “extremist channels” in personal chat messages. On 25 August, the couple was released. At home, they were met by policemen asking them to come to the police department the following morning to “sign some documents”. At the police department the couple learned about new protocols drawn up against them under Article 19.11 of the Administrative Code, and consequently were again sentenced to 15 days of arrest. Today, Nastassia and Siarhei were supposed to be released. But it did not happen as their term of imprisonment was extended again.

Sound engineer and musician of the band Favorite Mirror Aliaksei Busel and his mother Tatsiana were detained during a raid on a residential courtyard march in one of Minsk districts. The family’s apartment was searched, ending in the arrest of Aliaksei’s father Siarhei Busel. He was released the same night. Later, Aliaksei’s brother Siarhei was summoned to the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption.

At the trial, Aliaksei stated that all that he did was throwing a white-red-white flag over his shoulders. Aliaksei also spoke out about security forces’ violence: he complained of having been transported on the floor of a police transporter vehicle, beaten and hit with a stun gun. Nevertheless, Aliaksei and his retired mother were sentenced to 15 days of arrest.