31 July 2015, Friday, 4:04

4.5 million fine for a photo in the Internet

Three human rights defenders in Hrodna have been charged with civil offense and fined over a photograph posted on the Internet.

Viktar Sazonaw, Raman Yurhel and Uladzimir Khilmanovich posed for the photograph on December 10, Human Rights Day, holding images of imprisoned human rights defender Ales Byalyatski.

The picture came to the attention of the police and the three men were charged with staging an unauthorized demonstration.

On January 5, Vital Lyatsko, a judge of the Leninski District Court in Hrodna, found the trio guilty of the offense and sentenced each to a fine of 1.5 million rubels ($170), although no evidence of their guilt or witness testimony were presented in court during the 150-minute trial, Vyasna said.

The accusations were based exclusively on the police’s reports and “speculation,” the group said. 

Vyasna condemned the trial as politically motivated and the charges as absurd.

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