Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Members of Tatsiana Karatkevich nomination team detained in Mahilioŭ

Tatsiana Karatkevich speaking to reporters in a police station in Mahilioŭ on August 17
Tatsiana Karatkevich speaking to reporters in a police station in Mahilioŭ on August 17

Valiantsina Shchetnikava and Ales Shautsou were collecting signatures at Mahilioŭ’s Vilienski market in support of presidential contender Tatsiana Karatkevich. The picket was attended by Mrs. Karatkevich, who talked to local residents for nearly half an hour. However, after her departure, the problems started.

“Mrs. Karatkevich arrived. We walked around and talked with people. At the same time, director of the market was watching us constantly, telling us how and where we should go or stand. At about 12 a.m., a police car pulled over next to us. Three riot policemen came up and one in the uniform of an ordinary policeman. They did not show their IDs. Started asking what we're doing there, tried to take away the flag. Ales Shautsou asked about the reasons. As a result, they took both the flag him. I do not know where they took him,” said Ms. Shchetnikava.

As the activist was saying this over the phone, she was approached by three riot policemen. They offered to collect all the things and follow them.

Later it became known that Ales Shautsou was taken "for identification" to the nearest police station. The police officers were going to take Valiantsina Shchetnikava there too, but riot policemen changed their minds and released her after a few minutes (however, they took the activist’s table which she sued to collect signatures). Ales Shautsou was released half an hour later. Today, Tatsiana Karatkevich came to the police station for an explanation.