Trials: Journalists Charged with Hooliganism and Unsanctioned Demos

27.03.2017 Source: Press service of BAJ


Maskouski district court, judge Tatsiana Motyl, lawyer Larysa Atamanchuk:

Aliaksandr Barazenka, cameraman of Belsat, spent the weekend in pre-trial detention. Charged with article 17. 1 (hooliganism).

There were motions to take photos and video in court; the judge rejected. Aliaksandr Barazenka pleaded non-guilty, claiming he had been performing professional duties of a journalist, which he underlined in the police’s report. He was detained close to Victory Square together with a group of other protesters. He several times indicated himself as a journalist, but the detaining police officers ignored this. The journalist was sentenced to 15 days' arrest.

He tried to get the witness caught on the fact that the witness - Mikhail Varyvonchyk, a riot policeman of the Minsk City Executive Committee police department - did not remember the journalist's appearance. The journalist also asked the policeman to write down what exactly foul words the journalist had spoken. The judge also saw the video which showed the journalist at the moment of detention.

Frunzenski district court:

Editor of the website InformNapalm Dianis Ivashyn. Charged with art. 23.34 (violating the procedure for organizing or holding mass events). He spent the weekend in pre-trial detention at Akrestsina.

Savetski district court: judge Dzmitry Zhdanok

Maryna Kastylianchanka, journalist contributing to human rights organizations. On March 25, the police searched her flat, after which she was taken to pre-trial detention. Charged with art. 23.4 (disobedience to police’s demands). Her flat was searched following “information that there could be explosives”. The police have not found anything, but detained her for disobedience, reports Viasna. At the police department, she was recognized as a participant of an earlier action, on March 15. Maryna motioned to hold an expert examination of the photo and to request information from the cell phone operator about where she had been on that day. The judge dismissed the motion and found her guilty on both the charges. Sentenced to 15 days' arrest.

Leninski district court, judge Tatsiana Darashchonak:

Journalist and blogger Raman Pratasevich was detained at Kastrychnitskaya Square on March 26. Charged with art. 17.1 according to two reports, for March 25 and 26. Spent a night in detention.

The judge declined the motion to watch the video proving that during detention the journalist was not speaking obscene language and did not wave hands. Sentenced to 10 days’ arrest.


Pavel Levinau, Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau and Leanid Svetsik face charges under art. 23.34. They spent a night in detention.

Pavel Levinau had been hospitalized with a hypertonic crisis. He is BAJ member, lawyer and human rights activist. The Belarusian Helsinki Committee was going to file an urgent appeal against arbitrary detention to the Special Rapporteur on defense of human rights defenders.

BAJ member and human rights defender Leanid Svetsik was sentenced to 15 days' arrest.

Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau was sentenced to 15 days' arrest.

Artsiom Sizintsau, Radio Racyja, detained on March 25, spent the weekend in pre-trial detention, charged with art. 23.34 and was sentenced to 10 days' arrest.


Viktar Stukau, charged with art. 17.1, fined for 20 basic amounts, had served pre-trial detention. 

Chart on trials on March 27


* CoAV – Code of Administrative Violations

art. 23.4 – Disobedience to police’s demands

art. 23.34 – Violating the procedure for organizing or holding a mass event

art. 22.9 – The law stipulates that a foreign mass medium’s journalist means “a natural person engaged in collection, editing, creation (preparation) of informational reports and/or materials for a legal person which is entrusted with functions of the editorial board of the mass medium, registered outside the Republic of Belarus, who is connected with this legal person through labor relations and has accreditation in the Republic of Belarus.”

art. 17. 1 – Minor hooliganism.

Aliaksandr Barazenka


Judge Tatsiana Motyl

Court of Maskouski district of  Minsk

15 days arrest

Raman Pratasevich


Judge Tatsiana Daroshchanka

Court of Leninski district of  Minsk

10 days arrest

Dzianis Ivashyn


Judge Yauhen Pisarevich

Court of Frunzenski district of  Minsk

5 days arrest

Maryna Kastylianchanka

23.4, 23.34

Judge Dzmitry Zhdanok

Court of Savetski district of  Minsk

15 days arrest

Siarzhuk Kiyko



Court of Partyzanski district of  Minsk

12 days arrest

Leanid Svetsik


Judge  Tatsiana Zhuraukova

Court of Kastrychnitski district of  Vitebsk

15 days arrest

Artsiom Sizintsau


Judge Valiantsina Mikhasiova

Court of Kastrychnitski district of  Vitebsk

10 days arrest

Kanstantsin Mardzvintsau


Judge  Ina Hrabouskaya

Court of Kastrychnitski district of  Vitebsk

15 days arrest

Viktar Stukau


Judge  Uladzimer Biasecki


Fine of 20 basic amounts