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18.07.2006 | Igor Karnei (Minsk)

Belarusian opposition leader arrested “for foul language”

   

On Monday 17 July 2006 the Central District Court in Minsk sentenced the leader of the United Civic Party Anatoly Lebedko to 10 days administrative arrest “for foul language” in a public place. This will be Lebedko’s fourth time behind bars since the beginning of the year.

On the evening of 16 July Anatoly Lebedko was detained near the Russian Embassy in Minsk during a demonstration of solidarity with the families of disappeared opponents of Aleksandr Lukashenko. The protocol on the politician states that he used foul language in a public place. What the opposition activists were actually involved in outside the Russian Embassy is explained by one of the participants in the action, Kristina Shatikova.  “In the city centre, holding portraits of the politicians who disappeared, we went up to people and explained that we were looking for friends of the missing men, relatives, maybe they had seen them?”

About forty of the demonstrators who were detained were released, however Anatoly Lebedko, and an opposition activist from the city of Borisov, Yevgeny Askerko spent the night in a temporary holding unit. The fact that he was again being charged with using foul language was described by Anatoly Lebedko himself as a “crisis of genre”, since as he put it, they couldn’t come up with anything more original. Lebedko said that he had arrived back the day before yesterday from an international conference in Prague attended by the best lawyers in Europe, including 15 judges from the Supreme Courts of various countries. “So after that they’re suggesting I ran up to some wretched riot police office so as to hurl abuse at him?”, Lebedko asked ironically.

Lebedko has already in this year been detained and tried four times. Moreover twice the politician was also accused of “foul language”. 

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