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Belarusian Activist Fined For Attending Opposition Gathering


Ales Masyuk (file photo)

Ales Masyuk (file photo)

SLONIM, Belarus -- An opposition activist in the western Belarusian town of Slonim has been fined 175,000 rubles ($32)for participating in an "illegal" gathering, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Ales Masyuk took part in an opposition People's Assembly in Slonim on October 8. When it ended policemen approached him and took him to a police station where they filled out a protocol for his detention, but allowed him to go home.

Masyuk was summoned to the police station on October 10, where he was told he had been charged with "active participation in an illegal public gathering."

Masyuk pleaded not guilty in court on October 12, saying he attended the assembly just like many others. He said he was not aware the assembly was illegal.

The court found Masyuk guilty and noted that after the assembly ended he was distributing copies of the resolution that the participants adopted.

Local opposition activist Ivan Bedka, who testified in court as a witness, was taken to a police station after Masyuk's verdict was pronounced.

He was also officially charged with "participation in an illegal gathering." Bedka was detained together with Masyuk on October 8, but was later released.

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