Four men detained over Minsk bombing released

Miraslaw Lazowski, Syarzhuk Chyslaw, Ihar Korsak, and Viktar Lyashchynski were arrested on July 8...

Four of those detained over a bomb explosion at an Independence Day concert in Minsk on July 4 were released on Friday.

Miraslaw Lazowski, Syarzhuk Chyslaw, Ihar Korsak, and Viktar Lyashchynski were arrested on July 8 and had to be released on the expiration of a 10-day term unless formal charges were brought against them, Nina Shydlowskaya, the wife of Mr. Lazowski, told BelaPAN.

All the four are former members of the Belarusian Association of Military Servicemen (BAMS), an organization established in 1991 and outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1996. They were also members of Bely Lehiyon (White Legion), a nationalist group that originated from the BAMS youth wing.

According to human rights defenders, some other detainees were freed on Thursday evening, including Tatsyana Pyakun, a student of Belarusian State University.

On July 12, the KGB released Syarhey Vysotski, leader of the unregistered Belarusian Freedom Party, United Civic Party member Alyaksandr Syarheyenka and Pavel Kuryanovich, a member of the European Belarus association.

Some 50 people were injured by the explosion of a homemade time bomb at about 12:30 a.m. on July 4, police said. No fatalities were reported.

A total of 47 people were hospitalized, including two children, according to the Ministry of Health. Most of them had shrapnel wounds in legs and arms. There were reports that the bomb was contained in a juice carton and stuffed with steel nuts and bolts, that is why doctors mainly had to extract such pieces from bodies.

The free open-air concert, which was attended by Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka and drew hundreds of thousands of people, was not stopped and lasted until 3 a.m., although, according to Interior Minister Uladzimir Navumaw, an unexploded bomb was found at the scene. Criminal proceedings were instituted in connection with the incident under Part Three of the Criminal Code’s Article 339, which penalizes “especially malicious hooliganism.”

The case is being investigated by the Minsk police department, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the KGB.

The second, unexploded, bomb “bears rather many traces,” which gives hope that the perpetrators will soon be identified, General Navumaw said in an interview broadcast by Belarusian Television the day after the incident.