Aleh Volchak sentenced to 4 days of arrest

The human rights activist Aleh Volchak was detained outdoors on 27 January in Minsk and guarded to the Maskouski District Police Department of Minsk.

He was charged with using obscene language in public (Article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences, “disorderly conduct”) and spent the week-end in custody in the delinquents’ isolation center in Akrestsin Street.

At 12.50 a.m. on 30 January the materials of his case were brought to the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk. Mr. Volchak was guarded there somewhat later, at 1.50 p.m.

The case was considered by judge Yakunchykhin. He banned to lead the audio recording of the trial – a journalist with a recorder was removed from the court room. All others were warned that they could be punished for contempt of the court for attempts to record anything on audio. Volchak denied having used obscene language and waved his hands.

At 3 p.m. the court listened to the testimony of the deputy head of the Tsentralny District Police Departemnt Anton Khakhlai, who stated that Aleh Volchak had used foul language in the street.

At 3 35 p.m. the judge sentenced Mr. Volchak to 4 days of arrest.

News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.