Police question Syarhey Kalyakin over his party`s flower-laying ceremony on occasion of anniversary of October Revolution


Minsk’s Tsentralny district police department has reopened its criminal case against three young opposition activists in connection with this past August’s attack on a guard in the building where the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) then had an office.

Syarhey Semyanyuk, one of the three young men, told BelaPAN on Tuesday that he had received a paper from the police, notifying him of the resumption of the investigation.

“Strangely enough, I had not been notified of the suspension of the case in a written or oral manner,” he said.

The activist said that he would consult his lawyer and, perhaps, file a complaint with a prosecutor’s office. “It appears that the police failed to find evidence of our alleged guilt during the two months that they had,” he said. “So, they made the decision: they suspended the investigation to resume it in order to have two months more for probing the incident.”

The criminal proceedings against Mr. Semyanyuk, Ales Kalita and Maksim Hubarevich - all members of the BPF - were instituted under the Criminal Code`s Article 339, which penalizes disorderly conduct and provides for a maximum penalty of six years in prison. The three have denied any wrongdoing, saying that it was the guard who tried to start a fight with them when they came to the building.

"The guard should have left earlier in the morning, but he`d probably had a few drinks overnight and stayed behind to wait for us," Mr. Semyanyuk earlier told BelaPAN. "In his befuddled state, the man started picking on Ales Kalita [leader of the BPF youth wing] and tore his shirt. It wasn`t until we`d threatened to call the police that he got into a taxi and left."

The following day the man had doctors document his alleged injuries, which included a broken rib, and filed a complaint.

The Belarusian Popular Front moved to the office building at number 93a Krapotkina Street after being evicted from its former office on Masherava Avenue in late July/ //BelaPAN