14 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
7:19 am After the expiration of the fifth presidential term of Lukashenko, the question of his “international legal status” arises. This opinion was expressed by a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council for the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Belarus, ex-diplomat Pavel Latushka.
Lukashenko’s term expires on 5 November 2020 (the inauguration after he was elected to his fifth term took place on 6 November 2015).
“If we are talking about world solidarity with the Belarusian people, we, first of all, appreciate the principled consolidated position of the European Union, as well as other countries supporting the EU decision that from 5 November, they no longer consider Lukashenko as the head of the Belarusian state, with all the resulting international legal consequences,” Latushka said during a YouTube stream on the evening of 13 September.
According to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko is illegitimate “in the eyes of the Belarusian people”. “We are already seeing activity all over Europe, and we hope that no country in the world will recognize his legitimacy,” she said. “We are confident that most countries will support us in this and will not recognize him in the international community.”
7:40 am Based on information available at 1 am on 14 September, human rights activists announced the names of 348 people detained in Minsk before, during and after the March of Heroes on Sunday. Among them are two minors (a girl and a 13-year-old teenager).
Six journalists were also detained: photographer Aliaksandr Vasyukovich (in “Cafe 1067” on Romanovskaya Sloboda after the rally, then taken to the Frunzensky district police department where a charge was prepared), Tatiana Gargalyk (released from the Oktyabrsky district police station, with a charge), freelance photojournalist for the tut.by portal, Vladimir Gridin (together with Vasyukovich, he was charged – court hearing set for 14 September), Belsat TV channel employee Artem Lyava (released without charges – his car, laptop and phone were seized for “forensic examination”), Dmitry Pankovets, deputy editor-in-chief of the Nasha Niva website (released after a document check during the rally) and editor-in-chief of the dev.by website Natalya Provalinskaya (released six hours later from the Oktyabrsky district police station).
Sergei Kondratenko, the press secretary of the union of the Belarusians of the world “Batskaushchyna” was also detained in “Cafe 1067”.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported 400 detainees in the capital as of 7:00 pm last night.
According to the human rights website spring96.org, at least 43 people were detained in other parts of the country (in all regional cities, as well as in Babruysk, Mazyr, Navapolatsk, Pinsk, Salihorsk).
8:00 am Talking to ONT TV channel, the former head of the Ministry of Health, Karanik, voiced his opinion that the second wave of the coronavirus would be smaller in Belarus. As a reminder, Karanik was recently appointed the governor of the Hrodna region.
In his interview with the TV channel, he reiterated that the tactics chosen by the Belarusian authorities to combat the coronavirus were correct. Regarding the second wave of COVID-19, Karanik said that he expects it not to be so severe: “We expect it to be less widespread, because of the immunity in some sections of the population, and because those groups of population particularly susceptible to the virus have already had it, and therefore already have immunity,” he said.
To recap, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, 74,173 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Belarus as of 13 September. 198 cases were registered in the last 24 hours. Since the beginning of the spread of the infection in the country, 750 patients have died (plus 6 people over the last 24 hours).
8:34 am Russian President Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko will meet in Sochi today.
According to the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Peskov, “it is not planned to sign any documents or hold a joint press conference following the talks.”
At the same time, according to the Kremlin spokesman, “the visit is important, especially in view of what is currently happening in Belarus.”
Peskov noted that the parties will discuss “key issues of further development of Russian-Belarusian relations of strategic partnership and alliance.”
8:58 am The Russian Defense Ministry has sent about 300 servicemen to Belarus within the framework of joint military exercises.
In addition to special forces, about 70 pieces of equipment have arrived in Belarus, including BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles and BTR-MDM “Rakushka” armored personnel carriers, writes DW.
The joint exercises of the Belarusian and Russian military „Slavic Brotherhood“ will start today at the “Brestsky” military training ground. More than 800 servicemen and about 170 pieces of equipment will participate in the maneuvers.
It was reported earlier that the exercise “is being conducted as part of the counter-terrorism policy and is not directed against other countries.”
9:14 am 109 beds are occupied out of 110 allocated for offenders in the Akrescina detention center.
According to the testimonies of eyewitnesses who left the detention center, the number of people kept in detention significantly exceeds the official capacity of the institution.
As the head of the detention center, Yevgeny Shapetko, told STV, the protesters detained in the capital Minsk are mostly kept at Akrescina.
As mentioned earlier, according to human rights activists, almost 350 people were detained in Minsk yesterday.
9:43 am TUT.BY received information that a court hearing (mobile court) is underway in the building of the Salihorsk District Department of Internal Affairs against the members of the strike committee of Belaruskali, Roman Leonchik and Siarhei Cherkasov.
The members of the strike committee filed petitions for the participation of lawyers.
9:59 am 10 journalists, detained last weekend in Belarus, still remain in detention awaiting trial, as reported by the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
It should be pointed out that, recently, Lukashenko personally explained to the security forces the importance of lawful treatment of media representatives. Are these isolated cases of abuse of office or double communication standards?
10:03 am The Ministry of Defense of Belarus has not received any notification from Serbia regarding a refusal to participate in the Belarusian-Russian-Serbian tactical exercises, “Slavic Brotherhood 2020”, and awaits the arrival of the Serbian military personnel, as reported by the NIA News press service.
10:08 am The representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus, Aleksey Podvoisky, stated, in his interview to the state TV channel STV, the punishment that can be expected for children participating in the peaceful protests. He reiterated the threat from the state that the minors and their parents not only face administrative charges, but, “in extreme cases, the removal of a child from the family”.
10:20 am “Rocky Balboa is in solidarity with the Belarusian people.” A solidarity rally took place in Philadelphia, USA.
10:46 am Unidentified men in masks again came to the Square of Change in Minsk and painted over the DJs’ silhouettes and removed flags.
The DJs’ mural is painted over every day, however, the residents restore graffiti on the transformer unit as soon as the security forces have gone.
10:49 am The management of the Akrescina detention center showed journalists from the state news outlet STV around the institution. The head of the detention center, Yevgeny Shapetko, denies any beatings and bullying of the detainees, claiming that conditions of detention are harsh, with minimal amenities, but satisfy basic standards. “The minimum requirements imposed by the state are met: beds, a heater for the winter time, a tap with hot and cold water, a WC, – there is no need to leave the cell. Benches, bedside tables for personal belongings, bed linen, hot meals twice a day.”
A completely different picture emerges when listening to the stories of detainees, who say food was limited to one loaf of bread for 84 people, who were kept in a cell designed for 5 people.
11:13 am Belarusians are withdrawing their savings from banks: in August alone, the banks “became poorer” to the tune of half a billion US dollars, as reported by the National Bank of Belarus.
11:22 am The Ambassador of Belarus to the Netherlands, Andrei Yevdochenko, condemned the brutality of the security forces against the peaceful protesters and supported dialogue between various political forces in the country. Yevdochenko announced his position in an interview with a local TV and radio company. The ambassador also said that he would support the people of Belarus if the majority does not recognize Lukashenko as president.
11:50 am The Telegram channel Pool Pervoy published Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s statement about Putin’s meeting with Lukashenko: “I want to remind Vladimir Putin: whatever you accept and whatever you agree on during the meeting in Sochi, it will not have legal force. All agreements signed with the illegitimate Lukashenko will be reviewed by the new government. The Belarusian people refused to trust Lukashenko or to support his election. I very much regret that you decided to conduct a dialogue with the power usurper, and not with the Belarusian people.”
12:09 pm TV presenters Dmitry Kokhno and Denis Dudinsky have been released. Kokhno and Dudinsky were detained on 2 September and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment, but they were released only today.
12:19 pm The State Border Committee has explained to Tadeusz Kandrusewicz why he is not allowed to enter Belarus:
“In connection with the decision taken by the internal affairs bodies to render your passport as a citizen of the Republic of Belarus (indicated by the number) invalid.”
12:23 pm The UN Human Rights Council has included the issue of Belarus on the agenda of its next session. Germany, on behalf of the European Union, urgently requested to discuss the topic.
12:44 pm According to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German government hopes to agree on sanctions against the Belarusian authorities next week.
12:49 pm Members of the Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers will not be present at the talks between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin in Sochi – the conversation will be “one-on-one”.
1:03 pm After the visit of a police officer to Minsk Gymnasium school no. 4, parents have demanded to meet with the school’s head.
On 11 September, 8th graders were gathered in the assembly hall, where a law enforcement officer proceeded to intimidate the children by delivering a lecture on responsibility for participating in unauthorized events, and on the “fascist symbols” used by the opposition. He also warned that more than two people should not gather together because this would be considered a “mass protest”.
According to one of the parents, “the delivery of the lecture was angry and chaotic.” The head of the school has promised to listen to the recording of the lecture and then take measures if necessary.
1:10 pm According to Belsat news agency, the same thing happened at Minsk Gymnasium school no. 56. Parents have signed an open appeal to the administration and teachers of the gymnasium, denouncing the use of ideological pressure on both teachers and students.
1:43 pm Following an incident in Zhodzina yesterday, the policeman responsible for punching a woman in the face and knocking her to the floor has been identified, and a statement from the victim registered by the Investigative Committee. However, at the same time, the woman has been warned that she herself will be charged in court for participation in an “unauthorized rally”.
1:56 pm As of today, Minsk State Linguistic University will be guarded by employees of the Security Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Partizansky District. Meanwhile, protests by students of the Faculty of Law of the Belarusian State University, and the Academy of Public Administration under the Aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus, as well as employees of the Academy of Sciences, are currently underway.
2:39 pm Trials of members and former members of the ‘Belaruskali’ strike committee took place today. All three defendants were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention “for participating in an unauthorized mass street event”.
2:48 pm After all the evidence of torture and infringement of human rights, the Legal Initiative organization has demanded that the Minsk police department address the issue.
The response of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was: “The Main Department of Internal Affairs of the Minsk City Executive Committee has taken appropriate measures to ensure security and prevent provocations and violence, as well as the spread of false information that discredits the police.”
2:52 pm Ukraine is strengthening security on the border with Belarus. This was reported by the State Border Service of Ukraine.
2:56 pm According to Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, talks between Putin and Lukashenko have begun.
3:55 pm In a statement after the meeting with Lukashenko, Putin announced that Russia is ready to provide a USD 1.5 billion loan to Belarus.
4:05 pm Minsk residents have reported seeing bomb technicians and security service officers near multiple district administration buildings. According to the reports, the employees are being evacuated.
4:21 pm Another National Coordination Council member, attorney Konstantin Titov, has been detained. This was reported by Viktar Babaryka’s press service with reference to Mr. Titov’s lawyer.
Konstantin Titov was one of the key members of the Council. At this time, out of seven members of the Coordination Council Executive Committee, only Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich is still in Belarus and not in custody. Security services have tried to contact her, but after Ms. Alexievich was visited at home by European diplomatic officials and journalists, there were no more attempts.
4:23 pm According to tut.by, the website of the state organization Belarusian Republican Youth Union was unavailable for a period of time today. The news comes amid daily cyber attacks on various government services.
4:30 pm 200 Russian scientists have signed a statement in support of Belarus’ protesters. They also expressed their indignation with the Russian government’s recognition of the “official” results of the 9 August elections.
4:31 pm At a meeting with Russian President Putin, Lukashenko said that he is following the events in the country “with a smile”.
“We didn’t fight, we didn’t shoot, we didn’t even throw sticks in Belarus, the two sides that oppose [each other], but demonstrate their determination that if, outside the Belarusian borders, there is someone who wants to flex their muscles, we can flex them as well at any moment … And, I am very pleased, I am very grateful to you, that you have demonstrated that the Belarusian borders are the borders of the Union State,” he added.
5:00 pm The Ministry of Internal Affairs commented on the incident in Zhodzina, when a policeman hit a woman in the face. It was done for the purpose of “self-defense and detention”.
According to the version published by the Telegram channel news, people who gathered around the road police car shouted “insults” at the policeman.
When a woman came out of the crowd, rushed to the police officer and pointed a phone camera at him, he allegedly assumed that he would be hit. The immediate reaction was the use of physical force.
5:16 pm Over 500 public figures of various cultural fields, from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, the USA, Germany, Austria and Poland, signed an open letter in support of the artist Nadezhda Sayapina, who was detained on 7 September in Minsk and sentenced to 15 days of detention.
5:27 pm Journalists Marina Drobyshevskaya and Yevgeny Merkis were detained in Homel, as reported by Strong News.
Marina managed to inform the Strong News office that the traffic police stopped their car, but after checking their documents, a police car approached. Yevgeny was dragged out of the car and detained. Another traffic police officer got behind the wheel of Marina’s car and they were taken to the Zheleznodorozhny district police station.
5:27 pm The police detained Denis Kolyada, the former legal adviser of the Ministry of Finance. He had previously gone on strike and then resigned in protest against the brutality and violence following the elections.
During the day on 13 September, he and his wife were stopped by the police in Minsk. They were told that they had participated in an unauthorized rally. In the evening, his wife was released as their young child remained in the house; Denis was sent to pre-trial detention center No. 8 in Zhodzina.
5:30 pm The Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that they received an anonymous message that one of the regional administrations had been allegedly mined. The police arrived at the scene; the identity of the caller is being established. The Ministry of Internal Affairs promised to supplement the information after the special response measures take place.
The statement doesn’t specify the number of administration buildings visited by the law enforcement officers.
5:55 pm As reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs press office, certain “illegal activities” were suppressed by the security services. A group of people, allegedly, practiced street fighting skills.
According to the Ministry, the participants also had a white-red-white flag, Ukrainian symbols, pneumatic and airsoft weapons at their disposal.
6:00 pm At the next EU summit, the Polish Prime-Minister is to present “the Marshall plan for Belarus” coordinated with the V4 (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic), stated the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland head of the office of the head of the Polish government Michał Dworczyk .
“This is a suggestion on help to Belarus, a kind of a roadmap that deals with the creation of a stabilization fund, and the use of some other financial mechanisms,” Dworczyk explained.
6:02 pm Radio Liberty has published a summary of what Vladimir Putin said at the meeting with Lukashenko:
- Belarusians shall figure the way out of the current situation in the country by themselves, without prompting from the outside.
- Moscow shall remain committed to all its agreements with Belarus, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the “Union State”.
- Russia shall provide Belarus with a loan of USD 1.5 billion
- Russian military forces that are currently taking part in the field training in Belarus shall return home from Belarus as soon as the training is over.
- The Kremlin is aware of Lukashenko’s proposals on the reformation of the Constitution. “I think this is logical, timely, and appropriate,” Putin said.
6:17 pm In Minsk, a criminal case has been initiated against a girl who tore a mask off a policeman. Yulia was detained by the building of the Minsk regional court before the trial over the “Belaruskali” strike committee. They later let her go but she’s been summoned for questioning on September 15.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported 141 cases commenced in Belarus on the facts of violence or threats of violence against police officers in May.
There is still no information on the commencement of any investigation with regard to the cases of violence and tortures against protesters.
6:20 pm Employees of the State Institution “Minsk Scientific And Practical Center Of Surgery, Transplantology And Hematology” have come out for a rally of solidarity. They were holding white medical overalls with names of the medical staff who had been detained at yesterday’s march.
6:36 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, in her Telegram channel, has commented on the information about the loan that Russia plans to provide to Belarus.
“With this regard, I want to address the citizens of Russia: “Dear Russians! Your taxes will be used to pay for beating us down. We are sure that you would not want that.”
“This may prolong Lukashenko’s agony, but cannot prevent the victory of the people,” she said.
7:00 pm The meeting between Lukashenko and Putin in Sochi is over. It has lasted for over four hours and has been mostly held behind closed doors. No press conferences have been held, no official documents have been signs. or the signing of official documents following the talks was planned.
7:30 pm Several women have been detained by the Red Church in Minsk. They were sitting on the steps to the church, holding blank white and red sheets of paper.
“Today we do not have slogans. They are pressing us for slogans and posters. And this way we can stay in the square and not be taken by the police,” said one of the participants.
No sooner had she said this than two police officers appeared. One of them asked everyone to disperse, and the second one was recording a video. The women left in different directions. When three of them returned to the Red Church, a gray bus without registration plates drove up, and some masked armed men got out, took the women into the bus, and drove away.
7:40 pm One of the leaders of the Minsk Tractor Works strike committee was released due to the blackout in the court. Vadim Payvin was detained in the evening on September 11.
The court hearing was held, when about 4 pm, the electricity in the court went off. The judge sent the report to the police department for further revisions but 72 hours’ detention term had ended and they had to release the detainee.
7:42 pm The residents of Zhodino have come out for a protest against “yesterday’s police brutality”.
The Free Theater has announced a campaign in support of Maria Kalesnikava and all political prisoners – #freekalesnikava. With this campaign, the theater hopes to “attract thousands of colleagues from different countries to the fight against the dictatorship, so that they show solidarity with Belarusians and strengthen our voice in the world”.
The business community of Belarus also doesn’t stay aside – graduates of EMBA business have recorded an appeal in support of the detained Maxim Znak.
Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for the President of Russia has commented on the promised loan of USD 1.5 billion.“Russia shall provide the loan of USD 1.5 billion not to Lukashenko, but to Belarus as a kin country […] Therefore, there are no fears that the loan will not be returned”, he said.
An employee of “Capital Television” Lilia Latogurskaya had announced her decision to resign after six years of work as an editor. The former editor said that she had started considering resignation on 12-13 August, but had made her final decision after a video that was black-mouthing Tsikhanouskaya. She added that the video was too much even for the channel’s lawyer who was shocked by such a blunt slander.
9:28 pm EPAM top manager Maxim Bagratsov has recorded his address to Belarusians.“Three months ago Viktor Babaryko was addressing you, then Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak spoke to you on behalf of the headquarters, now I am doing it. Soon someone else might take my place, and then someone else… but this is not a disaster. No matter how many people are in prison, no one can overcome the objective laws of social development, economics, and arithmetic,” he says.
9:38 pm The power reserve of the Russian Federation, which was formed at the request of Alexander Lukashenko, shall return to their permanent bases, said Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for the President of Russia.