Court trial for repost in social networks

Not so long time ago we reported that in Svetlogorsk (Gomel Region) was held a trial against Oksana Ponosova-Volkova under art. 17.11 Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus – distribution of extremist materials. Militia considered as extremist a repost from the page of Pramen in social network “Vkontakte” (vk.com) about the suicide of Aivar Jaskveich, whose reason was the receipt of a letter from tax police, demanding to pay a tax on unemployment. 

Punitive agencies were so furious that this news became public (with contribution of Pramen), that they began to persecute those who reposted it. Belarusian legislation allows to give fines or administrative arrest up to 25 days for reposts from groups, recognized as “extremist”.

However, due to their own laziness and fecklessness, and perhaps political decision “from above”, case was never accomplished. A week ago, the Svetlogorsk court acquitted Oksana on grounds of expiry of periods of limitations in the administrative case (2 months).

From the materials of the administrative case file it is clear that case was initiated by anti-extremist police department. The district militia officer, processing a case, came to the office of Oksana Ponosova-Volkova and drawed up a protocol just there. Woman considered it as a threat and did not evidence. The court sent the case for follow-up because of a lack of some documents in it, and the militia did this for several months.

Spreading of information on this process began even earlier, it was reported by non-state media. As a result, Oksana was summoned to the executive committee and was fault for publicity. Allegedly, she is a worker in the department of culture and should not have done this. Her husband believes that her working contract will not be extended. He also believes that the “Western vector” of Belarusian diplomacy also played its role in dismissal of case. The Minister of Foreign Affairs boasts of improving the image of Belarus, and seeing that the case has become publicized, he decided that it would be easier to sweep it under the rug.

The repressive policy of the state against anarchist media Oksana’s husband commented as follows:

“In my opinion, the surge in the number of cases under “extremist” articles is another crackdown — one more step of their policy.

I already became your subscriber in the Diaspora (https://diasp.org/u/pramenby – Pramen’s comment), I began to flutter less in VKontakte, but did not talk less with people at work. However, while it is possible to register SIM-cards on shill numbers and continue to make reposts from prohibited groups – it’s a sin not to use it, and not to have a couple of accounts in reserve.

By the way, all this situation suggested me an idea that the loud arrests of anarchists, like N. Dziadok, had its effect. For example, earlier, I could say in the executive committee that we are a group of anarchists and we want to hold a rally on 1st May, and twice: in 2001 and in 2002 Svetlogorsk authorities allowed us to do this. And now it became impossible. Now the situation comes to open persecution – that’s why these articles were needed in the administrative code. Therefore, I wish to the new generation of anarchists to live under the radar. And let there be an Anarchy!”

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