Victoria had been detained at *Changes Square on Sunday, 15 November, and was later sentenced to 25 days in jail. In court, the woman said that she was pregnant. By law, a pregnant woman in Belarus cannot receive an administrative sentence.
Update: On 17 November, the press service of the Supreme Court reported that the fact of pregnancy of the woman was not confirmed. She was reportedly checked in one of the medical institutions of Minsk. The date and time of medical examination is not indicated.
On Monday, 16 November, the Frunzensky District Court considered the case of Victoria from Minsk, who was detained with her mother at Changes Square. According to the woman, they did not participate in a rally and did not resist the police, as indicated in a report. Victoria told the court that she had taken a pregnancy test the day before, and it was positive. Judge Andrei Mlechko ruled to impose an administrative arrest for 25 days.
According to the case file, Viktoria was detained on 15 November at about 4.40 pm near the house on 62 Chervyakova Street. This is where the so-called Change Square is located, where the participants of the Sunday march gathered to mourn Roman Bondarenko. The report reads that the woman took part in an unauthorized rally and refused to go to the official transport for investigation in the Frunzensky District Internal Affairs Department.
“During the arrest, she behaved aggressively, swore with obscene language, resisted, attacked and grabbed the policeman’s uniform.” As a result, she was charged with two articles of the Administrative Code: Part 3 of Art. 23.34 [Repeated participation in an unauthorized event within a year] and 23.4 [Disobedience to a lawful order of a police officer]. Explanations on the case were given by police officers with changed data [which contradicts the Procedural-Executive Code of Administrative Offences – Ed.]. The judge refused to summon the mother of the woman, who witnessed the arrest, to the trial.
In court, Victoria explained that on 15 November she met with her mother in the Central Department Store, they went shopping. Later, her mother offered to go to Changes Square, where she had never been before, but read about her in the news. According to Victoria, they did not plan to take part in the rally. The girl also told that the day before, on Saturday, she had taken a pregnancy test, and it was positive. Judge Mlechko asked whether the detainee has a certificate from a medical institution that confirms her pregnancy. The woman explained that she planned to make an appointment with a doctor on Monday, but she was detained.
By Belarusian law, administrative arrest cannot be imposed on a pregnant woman [part 2 of article 6.7 of the Administrative Code]. TUT.BY reporters tried to get a comment at the Frunzensky District Court of Minsk, but its represetatives only confirmed the judge’s decision – 25 days of arrest. During the trial, Victoria was held in an detention center on Okrestin Street.
*Changes Square is one of the most famous of the courtyard protest venues in Minsk. It has a mural of two DJs who achieved cult status before the election, when they were hired for a pro-Lukashenko gathering and played the perestroika-era track Changes instead. The song has become the unofficial anthem of the Belarusian uprising. The square has been “renamed” Changes Square and attracts musicians who give concerts there.