Opposition youth Kaspyarovich sentenced to 12 days in jail

Young opposition activist Dzmitry Kaspyarovich on Monday was sentenced to 12 days in jail on a minor civil charge, Belapan reports.

A judge of Minsk’s Savetski District Court found the man guilty of using obscene language in public, a charge which the opposition says is often used by authorities to jail opponents ahead of major street protests.

Mr. Kaspyarovich’s car was stopped on March 15 near the National Academy of Sciences in an operation involving three traffic police vehicles. Apart from traffic police officers, there were other policemen and even two specially enlisted witnesses in the cars, the opposition activist’s associate, Mr. Dranchuk, said.

In Mr. Kaspyarovich’s car, the police found political stickers calling for Belarus’ integration into Europe and advertising the Czech-registered Malady Front opposition organization. The stickers were seized and the young man was taken to the Savetski district police station and then transferred to the detention center on Akrestsina Street.

Mr. Kaspyarovich was initially expected to be accused of distributing unregistered printed material, but he was eventually charged with “petty hooliganism” for allegedly shouting profanities in the presence of the traffic police officers who had stopped him.

Opposition forces plan to stage a demonstration in central Minsk on March 25 to mark the 90th anniversary of the Belarusian National Republic.