Over 33,000 protesters detained in Belarus since May 2020
According to human rights activists, from the beginning of the election campaign until the end of 2020, more than 33 thousand people have been detained in Belarus, over 900 criminal cases have been initiated. These figures are quoted by the Viasna Human Rights Center, which has been deprived of registration, in its report on the human rights situation.
Human rights activists emphasize that “detentions and arrests of protesters have become widespread,” and most of those detained received administrative arrest and heavy fines. Human rights activists have recognized more than 169 accused in criminal cases as political prisoners. The Viasna center has also documented more than 1,000 testimonies of torture victims. “The repressions of 2020 are the most massive in the recent history of Belarus and testify to a deep crisis with human rights in the country,” the report says.
In addition, the human rights center focused on repression against media workers. According to the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists, 19 media workers are currently in isolation as suspects or accused in criminal cases, 477 journalists were detained, 97 have served an administrative arrest.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor General of Belarus Andrei Shved cites other figures. According to him, at the moment, 309 people have become defendants in criminal cases of riots. Some of the criminal cases have been re-qualified, their defendants are accused of terrorism.
The Prosecutor General said that in October last year, more than 60 facts of blocking the movement of railway transport were recorded, but after the initiation of a criminal case under the article “Terrorism” such facts dropped ten times. Liability under the “Terrorism” article is not at all the same as liability under the “Hooliganism” article, Andrei Shved stated.
The Prosecutor General informed that Alexander Lukashenko will soon hold an extended meeting with the security forces, at which, in particular, they will discuss issues of increasing responsibility for extremism and proposals for improving legislation “in connection with the events that took place last year and were aimed at trying to change constitutional order, an attempt to seize power.”
Lukashenko said that BelNPP can be used for mining bitcoins
Inspecting the Gorizont plant, Alexander Lukashenko explained that the launch of the BelNPP makes cryptocurrency mining projects profitable in Belarus.
In his opinion, with the current price of bitcoin, it is possible to build farms and develop mining. Lukashenko finds the prospects for this business so attractive that he considers it expedient to build a second nuclear power plant. In his opinion, if the country had a second nuclear power plant, it would be enough to purchase only 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia.
“This would bring great independence from the monopolist,” Lukashenko summed up.
Kolesnikova will remain in custody for another two months
Maria Kolesnikova’s preventive measure in the form of detention was extended until March 8.
A member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, Maria Kolesnikova is held in the Zhodino pre-trial detention center. She was detained in Minsk on September 7. The security tried to expel Maria from the country, but she tore her passport at the border with Ukraine. On September 16, she was charged with publicly calling for a seizure of power or forcibly changing the constitutional order.
Kolesnikova was a member of the campaign headquarters of the former head of Belgazprombank, presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, who was also arrested before the presidential election. Later, she entered the joint headquarters of the presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
At the end of December, Kolesnikova, as well as other members of the Coordination Council (Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Maxim Znak, Pavel Latushko, Olga Kovalkova, Sergey Dylevsky) became involved in another criminal case. They are accused of creating and leading an extremist group.
Maxim Znak’s lawyer Dmitry Laevsky said recently that no charges were brought against his client in new criminal cases. In the opinion of the defense, raising these suspicions is groundless.
It is absolutely obvious that there was no extremism in the statements and actions of Znak, the lawyer noted. According to him, decisions to initiate two new cases will be appealed.
Lukashenko commented on the attack on the building of the US Congress
Alexander Lukashenko spoke about the capture of the Capitol, the building of the US Congress by Donald Trump’s supporters. “Who would have thought that tonight they would storm the Capitol, the citadel of world democracy, as they call themselves? Nobody,” he said.
According to Lukashenko, in the storming of the Capitol “there is some justice on the part of Trump,” but “it is bad that people die.”
After that, Lukashenko condemned the protests in Belarus, when people walk the streets and urged not to allow the protesters “to get to your houses.”