Elections in Belarus 2015

Regime wants to intimidate and put Nyaklyayeu, Statkevich, Lyabedzka on the hook

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There was no subpoena, lawyer and even the defendant. But for the Central District Court of Minsk this was not an obstacle. The Former political prisoner and one of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, Mikalai Statkevich was fined in absentia – more than seven million rubles. The basis – organization and participation of the opposition activist in the demonstration on September 10. Although the authorities are trying to keep a good face in a bad game before the election and put pressure on dissidents, it is possible that the Statkevich trial in absentia is not the last one in the coming days.

At the very day Mikalai Statkevich learned that he was to appear in court, the same message was sent to another opposition politician Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu. He was supposed to come to the police station of Tsentralny rayon in Minsk by eleven c’clock yesterday.

ULADZIMIR NYAKLYAYEU, OPPOSITION POLITICIAN:

“I went there to give explanations, but there was no-one to give them to. The person who called me was not on his official job.”

It is easy to guess what the explanations were about. But the secret meeting, which was held almost at the same time in the courthouse of the Tsentralny rayon of Minsk dispelled all doubt. According to the court decision, the former political prisoner Mikola Statkevich received a fine of more than seven million for participating in the demonstration on September 10 in Minsk.

MIKOLA STATKEVICH, FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER:

“The society is scared. We are offered some sham elections, with fake opposition candidates. We must react somehow. It is required by the basic sense of honor.”

Also, Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu does not exclude that he could also have been tried, but he did not know the place and the results. Or is this the new scenario Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s using to deal with opponents prior to elections?

ANATOL LYABEDZKA, UNITED CIVIC PARTY:

“He received a promise that if all goes more or less decently, then he and Mikola could pack bags and go on a Eurotour. It’s a very strong temptation for Lukashenka. He is a very ambitious person and he would like to walk the red carpet to the Elysee Palace. For him, it would mean a victory in the 20 years of confrontation with the West.”

Until recently, participants of unsanctioned rallies were brought to court by force, and administrative arrests were a common occurrence.

And this is how security forces used to crack down on those who dared to protest in the streets. But the latest rally of the opposition in Minsk was held in a different fashion. The picket of September 10, although held in the presence of numerous people in plain clothes, did not see the police use force.

However, according to representatives of the opposition, this is a temporary phenomenon. Immediately after the presidential elections, we can expect the new wave of repression. It might well be that even before the voting day, the leaders of the Belarusian opposition could be subjected to pressure. This does not exclude the chairman of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka, who could at any moment get a subpoena for organizing the rally dedicated to the 16th anniversary of the disappearance of politicians.

ANATOL LYABEDZKA, UNITED CIVIL PARTY:

“This is only possible in the Belarusian judicial system. Use an SMS to subpoena to court and then hold a trial without the person. This is another indication that they want to intimidate and put on the hook everyone: Nyaklyayeu, Statkevich and Lyabedzka before the national assembly marked for Wednesday.”

MIKOLA STATKEVICH, FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER:

“I want to say to people: Do not be afraid! I am not afraid and you should not be afraid. Come talk about what this man has done to our country over the past 20 years. It’s about time. The time has come.”

Another opposition rally in Minsk is planned a week before the main voting day. This time Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents will demand from the government to cancel the decision to place in Belarus Russian military bases.

Анатоль Лябедзька: Улада хоча запалохаць і падвесіць на кручок

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