Police detains 3 journalists in Mahiliou region. Laptsevich goes on hunger strike. Burakou Sr. and Burakou Jr. sentenced to 10 days of jail

07.08.2020 Source: BAJ News Service

Members of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, detained in the previous days as a result of the "sweep" that began in the Mahilou region.

Traffic police stopped car Alexander's Burakou at about 7.00 p.m.  They used a flimsy excuse to take Burakou to Leninski district police department.

Burakou was detained on his way to Mahiliou region studio where he was supposed to record a video dedicated to the course of the presidential election in Belarus. .

Mahiliou journalists and human rights activists came to the police station to support Burakou, but they were not allowed to enter the police station building, due to the "difficult epidemiological situation."

BAJ member, Mahiliou region journalist Uladzimir Laptsevich filed a complaint against the actions of the Leninsky district police department.

After a while, Laptsevich was approached by a police officer who asked the journalist to come to the police station for an interview about the complaint. Laptsevich's colleagues waied for him outside, but to no avail. He did not answer calls or text messages.

In the morning they were informed, Laptsevich was detained and taken to the detention center for alleged insubordination to police.

Freelance journalists Alina Skrabunova and Alexander Sidareuski who were waiting near the Leninsky district police department, were handed in summons to appear at Kastrychnitski district police station on 6 August at 3:00 p.m.

On the night of August 6 human right defender Barys Bukhel reported a provocation against Alexander Burakou that took place right in front of the police station. 

- I was standing at main entrance to the police station, waiting for the situation to develop. Suddenly I heard a noise from the entrance gate to the parking lot. First I hear a woman whining, then — the voice of Ales Burakou, who loudly repeated several times "this is a provocation." I rushed to them, but both the woman and Burakou were taken back to the police station. During the scene two police officers in plain clothes were present, Barys Bukhel told human rights portal mspring.online.

As he explained, the police had nothing to charge Burakou with, and it looked like they decided to organize a provocation.

- They took him out of the police station not through the main entrance, but through the door to the parking lot.  And they did it when I was alone waiting outside, all colleagues had already left. I believe they will try to charge him with attacking a woman, although I am a witness who saw that it was a provocation.

Ales Burakou Sr. was charged with disorderly conduct and sentenced to 10 days of jail.

Meanwhile, police officers in plain clothes detained journalist Ales Burakou Jr. who was awaiting trial over Burakou Sr. BAJ lawyer Aleh Aheyeu who came to court to support the journalist, observed the detention.

Later Burakou Jr. was found in the detention center. On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 days of jail for violation of the regulations of mass actions. 

Uladzimir Laptesevich, detained for a complaint, went on a hunger strike. He says the police hit his head against the floor and threatened him with further beating. His trial is still under way.

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