Famous basketball player Elena Levchenko, who had been detained at the airport this morning, was sentenced to 15 days of arrest for participating in unauthorized mass events. The guilt was established by a photo on Instagram and news article on the Pressball website.
Levchenko was charged with taking part in unauthorised mass events. On 23 August, the athlete took “an active part in an unauthorised street procession” on Independence Avenue, Elena “publicly expressed her demands for fair elections”.
On 27 September, she took part “in an unauthorised street procession [at Masherov Street] without the appropriate permission by the Minsk City Executive Committee publicly expressing her demand for fair elections in the Republic of Belarus.”
According to the report, Elena walked along the roadway holding a banner “The people are champion”. The guilt was established by a photo on Elena Levchenko’s Instagram page and news article on the Pressball website.
“The specified site contains […] the text: ‘Belarusian basketball player Elena Levchenko visited the march of the New Belarus on 23 August,’ as well as the photo taken during an illegal street procession at about 3 pm on 23 August […], shows a woman who looks like Levchenko Elena Stepanovna,” said judge Marina Zapasnik.
The athlete’s lawyer pointed out that there was no evidence in the case that the athlete had taken part in the procession. He drew attention to the fact that one of the photos shows only a building behind Levchenko’s back, and there were no signs that a mass event had been taking place in that place at that time.
The court’s decision is 15 days of administrative arrest.
Recall that Elena was detained today at the Minsk Airport before her flight for planned treatment and rehabilitation. She was immediately taken to a detention facility on Okrestin Street.
Earlier Levchenko spoke out against violence in the country and called on holding new presidential elections, she was also a member of the Free Association of Athletes of Belarus and signed an open letter to the authorities and security forces.
“No one can understand the nature of such brutality by security forces. The authorities use old methods – they repress, intimidate and beat – to force a person hide in a hole and be quiet. This is the only thing they can do. But the spirit cannot be killed. They are completely different people now.”
At the moment, there is no information on the detention of other athletes who actively expressed their position on the situaion in the country. Some of them have already reacted to Levchenko’s arrest, saying that “it only increased their determination”.
Elena Levchenko is one of the most famous Belarusian basketball players. She is the champion of Lithuania, two-time champion of Russia and two-time winner of the Russian Cup, three-time bronze medalist of the Euroleague and bronze medalist of the European Championship.
She has competed for the national team since 2001, playing twice for the national team in the Olympic Games. In 2010, she played in the women’s NBA final and was recognised as the best center of the world championship.