Oppositionists Statkevich, Lyabedzka, and Niakliajeu fined for rallying in Minsk
Hearings took place in the building of the court of Minsk’s Central district on September 30th. Ex-political prisoners and presidential candidates-2010 Mikalai Statkevich and Uladzimir Niakliajeu, as well as United Civic Party’s leader Anatol Lyabedzka were fined for organizing “illegal rallies” which took place in Minsk on September 10th and 23rd.
Statkevich and Niakliajeu did not show up at the court, and received fines of 9 and 5.4 million rubles (about EUR450 and EUR270) respectively.
UCP’s leader Anatol Lyabedzka received a fine of 7.2 million rubles (about EUR360).
Despite raised hopes, a full turn toward Europe seems unlikely.
Do recent events indicate that Belarus could fully turn towards Europe and pull away from Russia politically? In the last few months, a number of developments have excited observers in international media and revitalised old debates about the former Soviet country’s future. But despite positive indications, a broader view suggests that this prediction may be overly optimistic.
In the judgment of most media freedom or democracy indexes, the Eastern European country is labelled as one of the worst in Europe and in recent years Belarus has shown no tangible progress towards establishing a free media atmosphere.