Criminal case against Sevyarynets, Khalip and Martsalew goes to Minsk City Court


The criminal case against Paval Sevyarynets, Iryna Khalip and Syarhey Martsalew has been referred to the Minsk City Court to determine which court should have jurisdiction over the case, a spokesperson for the city prosecutor's office told BelaPAN.

On April 4, the police reduced the severity of the charge against Messrs. Martsalew and Sevyarynets, Ms. Khalip and one more person involved in a so-called riot case that was opened following a post-election protest in Minsk on December 19, 2010.

They are now accused of the "organization and preparation of actions that are in gross violation of the public order or active participation in them" under Part One of the Criminal Code's Article 342, which provides for a maximum penalty of three years in prison. They were initially charged with organizing "mass disorder," an offense that carries up to 15 years in prison.

Messrs. Martsalew and Sevyarynets have been held in the KGB detention center since their arrest in the wake of the December 19 protest and Ms. Khalip was released from the jail and placed under house arrest on January 29.

There are no reasons to release Messrs. Martsalew and Sevyarynets on their own recognizance or to place them under house arrest, the spokesperson said.