March 2021: Over 1,100 “Political” Detentions, 6,400 Days Of Arrest And $45,000 In Fines

During the first month of spring, more than 1,000 politically motivated arrests were registered in Belarus; the courts sentenced the defendants to a total of 6,400 days of arrest and almost BYN 121,000 [$45,000 / €39,000] in fines. The deregistered human rights centre Vesna reports.

According to the Vesna volunteer, which, as the human rights activists stress, are not final, in March 2021, there were 1,139 politically motivated arrests in Belarus. Three-quarters of them (841) were in Minsk. A significant part of the arrests is associated with Freedom Day: on the eve of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Belarusian People’s Republic numerous arrests took place in Minsk and other cities. On 25 and 27 March, about 500 people were detained – most of them in the capital. Among those detained in March were 36 journalists.

According to information available to human rights activists, a total of 490 administrative cases against activists and protesters were heard in the courts. The most frequent verdict was an administrative arrest – the courts appointed it 395 times, the duration varied from 3 to 30 days. In turn, this punishment was dominated by arrest for 15 days (270 sentences), while an increased punishment, according to the new norms of the Administrative Code, in the amount of 30 days was imposed on 32 people. In total, the number of days of arrest ordered by the courts in March was 6,472.

Fines were imposed 82 times, the minimum amount was two base values ​​[BYN 58/~$22/€19]. Significant fines – 30 base units [BYN 870/~$330/€280] were assigned to at least 32 citizens, another 8 people received 100 base units [BYN 2,900/~$1,100/€930], and the largest fine was two hundred base units [BYN 5,800/~$2,200/€1,860]. The total amount transferred to the treasury in the form of fines amounted to BYN 120,901 [~$45,880/€38,850].

Recall that on 1 March, a new Code of Administrative Offenses came into force, which, among other things, increased the fines and terms of administrative arrest for participants in unauthorized public events.