A criminal trial against Vladimir and Yuri Sedenevsky, Alexander Yakubovsky, sisters Zhanna Zakharkevich and Nadezhda Stepantsovais taking place in Grodno. All of them are charged with the organization of group actions that grossly violate public order and violence against employees of the internal affairs bodies. Previously, none of the defendants was prosecuted. The data of 11 victims were classified. During the trial, the police officers testified about the events that happened on 6 September 2020 in another room, according to human rights activists.
None of the 11 injured police officers attended the first hearing session. Their names were changed, this was explained by “security measures” taken in relation to them. “Victims fear for their lives and health, so they ask to conduct the process remotely. Due to a real threat related to their official activities, they cannot appear in court,” said senior assistant prosecutor Alina Chuzhemets on the first day.
To this, the lawyer of one of the accused replied that security measures had already been applied [the names of 11 victims had been changed – Ed.] and none of them had filed a complaint with the police about threats to them or their relatives. Thus, there is no legal basis for hiding them.
As a result, Judge Anna Levusik summoned the victims to appear in court on 13 January. Yesterday, they appeared in court, but at the request of the prosecutor, which the judge satisfied, they were interrogated not in the courtroom, but in the next room. It was decided to question through the half-open door of the deliberation room behind the judge’s back. Five of them were questioned and their testimonies are similar.
The police officer “Ivan Ivanov” told the court that he had not familiarized himself with the criminal case. When the lawyer asked how he defined himself as a victim, the riot policeman replied that it was not he who defined it, but the leadership of the Grodno OMON. According to “Ivanov”, on 6 September, people could see the words “OMON” on their black uniforms.
He said that what happened on the street that day resembled a rally: people had flags, banners, they shouted political slogans. The protesters had neither weapons nor sticks. The police formed a chain from a fence to a road, and a crowd tried to break this chain. The riot policemen began to detain the most active protesters, and in response, people pushed back but did not attack them.
“Ivanov” stated that he was not personally beaten, but the crowd shouted: “Fascists!”, and this caused him moral suffering. “Ivanov” does not remember the accused, does not recognize and will not demand compensation for moral damage. “Bely” riot policeman said that he personally did not detain anyone on 6 September. He said that he felt pain “because someone was beating him,” but he could not tell who exactly. According to “Bely”, the crowd was very aggressive, they threw plastic bottles with water, but they did not hit him.
He can’t say whether somebody of the accused touched him or not. He also reported about moral suffering, “there were threats to my family on Viber.” Three more riot policemen with changed names interviewed yesterday gave similar testimonies: they didn’t recognize the accused, because there were many people, they have experienced mental suffering, but would not file claims for compensation. The trial will continue.