On Monday, 29 March, the district courts of Minsk heard the cases of those detained on Saturday at unsanctioned mass events, which, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, did not take place. According to the telegram channel Spiski Zadershannyh [Lists of detainees], most of the detainees were sentenced to 15 days of arrest.
“The wife went home to put the child to bed, and I went to the store.”
From the very morning of 29 March, Judge Olga Neborskaya heard cases of those detained under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code. Each case was given about 15 minutes for examination. The cases of those whose relatives managed to find a lawyer went beyond the allotted time frame. Some court hearings lasted five minutes.
Alexander Deshkevich was detained on 27 March on Bogdanovich Street. He is 29 years old, works as a leading testing specialist in an IT company, is married, has a two-year-old child. According to the police report, he allegedly took part in an unauthorized rally, “expressed in the massive presence of a group of citizens in order to express their socio-political sentiments related to disagreement with the current government.”
Alexander himself has a completely different version of what happened. As he explained to the court, that day, together with his wife and child, they walked in the Friendship of Peoples Park. “The wife went home to put the child to bed, and I went to the store to buy food and infant formula. In my pocket was a list of groceries that had been taken from me during a body search, as well as a children’s toy.”
Alexander noted he was not even aware that any rally would take place in that area: he had not subscribed to the “destructive Telegram channels”. According to the man, apart from riot police officers and special equipment, nothing indicated that some kind of mass event was taking place there. His wife confirmed Alexander’s version of events that day.
“I did not see any people with symbols and flags in visual range. There was no one next to me. There were some passers-by, but they did not look like protesters. Nobody shouted anything. There was no one nearby, except for those who detained me,” he clarified.
Police witness Vladimir Fedorovich Gritsuk spoke at the trial not only under a fake name but also with a changed voice. He told the court that on 27 March he was protecting public order, during which he detained citizen Deshkevich, “who took part in an unauthorized mass event.”Active participation, according to the witness, was expressed “in the massive presence of citizens who gathered to express their socio-political sentiments.”
“What did I personally do?” Deshkevich asked the witness.
“You were in a group of citizens.”
What Deshkevich was wearing, how many people were detained with him, the police witness does not remember, explaining this by the fact that there were many detainees that day. After a short break, Judge Olga Neborskaya made a decision – to find Alexander guilty of committing an offence under part 1 of Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code and to impose a sentence of arrest for 15 days.
In a paddy wagon with pizza and coffee
As the Telegram channel “Viasna” Naziraye reports, on 27 March, artist of the Opera Theater Orchestra Anastasia Petrova was detained on her way out with a pizza and coffee from a pizzeria. At the trial, Anastasia said that after her performance ended, she and her friends decided to eat pizza in the fresh air. But she was soon detained at the exit from the cafe.
The police report under Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code, which was drawn up against her indicates that the woman took part in a mass event and shouted “Long live Belarus”. Judge Alexander Rudenko found the 29-year-old guilty and sentenced her to 15 days of arrest.
On Saturday, according to volunteers, two brothers, Sergei and Ivan Brusov, were detained on Independence Avenue. When military vehicles passed by, they decided to take a picture of them. In court, Ivan explained that he did it because they liked the vehicles. The police officers notice them taking photos and detained both of them.
Two reports were drawn up against the brothers at once: for participation in an unauthorized mass event (Article 24.23 of the Administrative Code) and disobedience to the demands of an official (Article 24.3 of the Administrative Code). According to the reports, the brothers “took part in a mass event organized by the movement of citizens in the amount of two people”.
Ivan and Sergei asked Judge Maxim Trusevich not to impose administrative arrest on them, since their mother, who had recently suffered a stroke, remained at home. The court’s decision – 30 days of arrest for each.
The case of student Nikita Ananich was considered by the deputy chairman of the Oktyabrsky district court, Alexander Rudenko. The police report says that on 27 March, at about 3 pm, Ananich was at 57b Surganov Street, and took an active part in an unauthorized rally related to the election campaign, publicly expressed his social and political interests and dissatisfaction with the current government.
Nikita Ananich agreed with the report. The police witness, who participated in the hearing via Skype, said that on 27 March he served on public order, personally detained Ananich and brought him to the police department for further investigation. The detainee had no questions to him, nor did the court. The trial lasted about five minutes. The court’s decision was a fine of 30 base units (BYN 870 / ~$330 / €280 ).
Food delivery courier
Menu.by courier Alexander is also accused of participation in an unauthorized rally in Minsk. The defendant himself claimed that he was on his way to deliver the order, but was detained by riot police at a bus stop. The man was detained near the Pushkinskaya metro station on Saturday, 27 March.
#Belarus https://t.co/sW4HxtLyxG food delivery man is being tried for a red vest. He was detained by riot police on Saturday near the Pushkinskaya metro station, when he was on his way to deliver an order from McDonald’s. #HilariousBelarus pic.twitter.com/iVuDsDM7ZO
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) March 29, 2021
At the first hearing n Monday, the lawyer asked the court to send a request to Menu.by to provide information about the courier’s orders. The court granted the motion, the trial continued on Tuesday. The lawyer provided a letter from Menu.by, which indicated the date, time, place and addresses where Alexander was going.
It says that on 27 March he arrived at McDonald’s at Pushkinskaya metro station, where he received an order and headed to 95 Pritytskogo Street. The defence lawyer petitioned to examine the contents of the client’s phone. A break was in the trial proceedings was announced.