Police in Minsk briefly detain journalists to prevent from meeting arriving Sevyarynets


Police briefly detained a group of journalists and former presidential candidate Vital Rymashewski on Saturday morning to prevent them from meeting opposition politician Paval Sevyarynets who was about to arrive on a train at the Minsk central railroad terminal after being released on completion of his "restricted freedom" and corrective labor sentence.

Apparently in an attempt to make the prominent opposition leader’s arrival go unnoticed, police rounded up about 10 journalists, including BelaPAN’s correspondent Zakhar Shcharbakow and cameraman Andrey Korsak, who arrived at the railroad terminal at about 8 a.m.

The journalists were taken to a police station in the terminal building for “identification” and were released 50 minutes after Mr. Sevyarynets, co-chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD), left the terminal.

As Mr. Rymashewski, another BCD co-chairman, told BelaPAN, when he saw uniformed police and plainclothesmen apprehending journalists, he began to shout in an attempt to draw the attention of by-standers to what was going on. As a result, he was arrested by plainclothesmen, who recognized him and threatened to beat him up, alleging that he was going to stage an unsanctioned rally on the platform.

Mr. Rymashewski was taken to a police minibus parked nearby and was held in the vehicle for about an hour. He was released after Mr. Sevyarynets left the terminal.

According to Mr. Sevyarynets, who was Mr. Rymashewski’s campaign manager during the 2010 presidential race, when he learned of the detention of the journalists, he walked to the police station where he was told that the journalists would be released as soon as he went away. //BelaPAN