Sentences to Nyaklyaeu and Rymasheusky
On 20 May two former Presidential candidates Nyaklyaeu and Rymasheusky were sentenced along with other members of their campaigns. Nyaklyaeu was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 5 other defendants were given conditional sentences ranging from 1 to 2 years.
With these sentences the Belarusian authorities have actually declined earlier charges of “mass disorder” against U. Nyaklyaeu and his colleagues announced immediately after 19 December. Lenient sentences for the "Nyaklyaeu group" could be regarded as a sign of willingness to cooperate. The movement "Tell the Truth!" was initially presented by the Belarusian propaganda as the main revolutionary force, led by Polish and German think tanks.
Obviously, the EU, USA and Russia, who previously strongly negatively reacted to the harsh sentence to the ex-candidate A. Sannikov on 14 May, could not make positive assessment of such move. In anticipation of the EU sanctions following a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the EU on 23 May Belarus postponed the announcement of the verdict in a trial against the ex-candidates N. Statkevich and D. Uss scheduled for 20 May, allegedly in connection with the illness of a judge. Both were charged under Part 1 of Article 293 (organization of mass disorder), envisaging imprisonment for up to 15 years. It can be safely assumed that the sentences will depend on the decision of the EU Council.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.