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Criminal persecution against three activists of the Youth YABLOKO in Omsk

Press Release

March 19, 2010

Three activists of the Omsk Youth YABLOKO organisation arrested at night of March 18 are have been still detained. The Main Interior Department informs that they are accused of vandalism, however, the local police department which is detaining the activists denies this and promises to release the activists soon.

An annual action in support of freedom of speech in Belarus has been held at night March 18 19. This is a part of international campaign European Youth Against the Belarus Dictatorship. The participants of the performance gag statues with banners saying Freedom to Belarus!

Omsk YABLOKO activists Anton Zhebrun, Mikhail Maglov and Andrei Yermilov were arrested by police when they were gaging a Dostoyevsky statue. They were escorted to the local police department Centralnoye, where they were kept the whole night without water and food. Anton Zhebrun had a heart attack, the police called an ambulance. However, the policemen did not allow the young people to make calls via their mobile phones.

In the morning Sergei Kostaryov, the leader of the Omsk YABLOKO called Colonel Viktor Kovalenko in charge of monitoring all the political actions in the region. The Colonel confirmed the information that the activists were detained (in spite of the fact that the local police department continued releasing each time contradictory information: either confirming or denying the arrest) and said that criminal persecution in connection with vandalism towards statues had been launched.

About 1 p.m. the police confiscated for some reason the shoes of the arrested, Sergei Kostaryov says, adding that a police officer promised to release the arrested soon.

YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin said that this represented another round of reprisals against political activists. Vandalism is out of the question here, as this did not harm the statue in any way, he said adding that, however, he personally considered the format of the action be not very well conceived.

YABLOKO continues closely following the developments and has already lodged a complaint to Public Prosecutor.

See also:
Human Rights

Freedom of Speech






Press Release

March 19, 2010