Updated at 13:35,15-07-2024

Two jailed over protest in front of KGB office


An opposition activist who demonstrated in front of the headquarters of the Committee for State Security (KGB) in Minsk on January 8 and a reporter who filmed the protest were sentenced to jail terms on Monday.

Mikita Kavalenka, a member of a group called European Belarus, unfolded images of Belarus`political prisoners and the historically national white-red-white flag on the steps of the KGB office at around 4:30 p.m. Minutes into the event, a group of men ran out of the building and grabbed the activist and Alyaksandr Barazenka, a journalist with Warsaw-based television channel Belsat TV who was filming the one-man protest.

The pair were brought to the Tsentralny district police department, where a charge sheet was drawn up against them, and spent the night at the detention center on Akrestsina Street.

Ivan Mayseychyk, a judge of the Tsentralny District Court, sentenced Mr. Kavalenka to 15 days in jail, while Judge Alyaksandr Khadanovich handed an 11-day jail term to Mr. Barazenka, human rights defender Anastasiya Loyka told BelaPAN. Both were found guilty of participation in an unauthorized demonstration under Article 23.34 of the Civil Offenses Code.

After the ruling was pronounced, Mr. Barazenka announced that he would go on hunger strike in protest against the sentence.

Mr. Barazenka was briefly detained by KGB officers after filming a topless anti-Lukashenka protest staged by three Ukrainian feminist activists in front of the building on December 19, 2011.

In October last year the journalist was interviewed by an officer with the Prosecutor General`s Office about his cooperation with Belsat TV.

Mr. Kavalenka served a 10-day jail term after participating in an unsanctioned demonstration in support of the political prisoners in central Minsk in October 2011.