Petitioners, journalists detained near KGB building in Minsk
A group of reporters were briefly detained by the police yesterday afternoon, July 29, after they arrived to the KGB headquarters in central Minsk to cover the filing of petitions requesting the release of arrested presidential nominee Viktar Babaryka, baj.by said. The police also detained some 40 people who came to file petitions.
At least a dozen journalists were held, including those working with tut.by, svaboda.org and the news agencies TASS, BelaPAN and Reuters.
They were invited to the KGB internal court where a police van was waiting for them. The reporters were then driven away to the district police department, reportedly to check their IDs. All of them were eventually released without charges.
Babaryka's campaign manager Maryia Kalesnikava was supposed to file a petition to the KGB pleading to release on bail the barred presidential contender Viktar Babaryka. She asked his supporters to act as bailsmen.
"No one can be found guilty without an effective court verdict. This is the right that is guaranteed to us by the Constitution. It is called the presumption of innocence. We believe Viktar Babaryka is innocent. However, the decision to detain him is even more unacceptable. We will continue to fight against this at every possible legal way," Babaryka's headquarters said in a statement.
As a result, the police detained at least 38 people who came to file petitions. Most of them were later released. However, at least 7 people faced charges of "illegal protesting" and "resisting arrest" and were detained to await trials. No violence was reportedly used on the part of the police.