Minsker Detained For “Holding Picket” By Handing Out Candies To Friends

On 25 March, Ivan and his friend were walking along Vera Khoruzhei Street in Minsk. In their backpack, they had two packs of lollipops. At some point, Ivan recalls, they were approached by law enforcement officers, who took them to the police department as part of the investigation in “the theft of a mobile phone”. There they drew up two reports against them: one for disobedience, another one “for picketing by handing out sweets in a white-red-white wrapper”. As a result, Ivan spent six days in a detention centre.

According to Ivan, the incident took place near the Siluet shopping centre on Vera Khoruzhei Street in Minsk. On that day, 25 March, he and a friend were walking to the shopping centre, but it was already closed. A friend had two packs of barberry-flavoured lollipops in his backpack.

Ivan had these sweets in his hands. The young man says that he bought them without thinking that such a colour combination can attract attention. Photo from the green-market.by site

“My friend treated his friends to these sweets. After that, uniformed officers came up to us, said “hello, follow us” and took us to the police department, allegedly for investigating the theft of a mobile phone. Together with us, another man was arbitrarily detained. I don’t know who he is, his name is Zhenya. We went into the special transport, they took us to the police department, to a basement room, there were eight people at that time. There was also the girl who was detained for white socks with a red stripe.”

Ivan says that the police officers drew up two administrative reports against them. One “for picketing by handing out sweets in a white-red-white wrapper,” another one for allegedly trying to escape, thereby disobeying employees in the line of duty. The next day, 26 March, a trial was held. The court sent both reports for revision, but Ivan was not released from the temporary detention facility.

When 72 hours after the arrest were over, new reports were drawn up against the young people. They were charged with allegedly “making a scene in the police department out of hooligan motives.” Ivan’s friend pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 days in a detention facility in Zhodino. Ivan pleaded not guilty but was still sentenced to three days of arrest. In total, the young man spent six days in custody on Okrestin Street.

“I told everything how it was, that we did not make any scandals. And the time frame in the report did not coincide with what the witness said at the trial. I don’t know if it’s luck or not, that they just detained me, but, on the other hand, they could have sentenced me to 30 days but I was sentenced only to three. I just would like to share my story so that people do not lose faith in themselves,” says Ivan.

Source: TUT.BY