Activist of \"Tell the Truth!\" campaign sentenced to $470 fine

Mikhail Pashkevich was sentenced Thursday to a fine of 1.4 million rubels ($470) after he and other activists of the "Tell the Truth!" campaign delivered a petition to the education ministry earlier in the day, BelaPAN reports.

A judge of the Maskowski District Court in Minsk agreed with police officers who took the petition delivery event as an unauthorized demonstration, and found Mr. Pashkevich guilty as charged, human rights defender Alena Tankachova told BelaPAN.

Mr. Pashkevich was arrested by plainclothesmen after the petitioners came out of the building of the education ministry. The trial began after court hours and the ruling was pronounced at 8:30 p.m., Ms. Tankachova said.  The judge heard testimony by the police officers who arrested the activist and did not examine other witnesses, according to Ms. Tankachova.

The petition, delivered on the occasion of International Youth Day, urged the ministry to close down its Department for Youth Affairs because of its "inefficiency."