Third day of Bialiatski trial begins with tightened monitoring

Bialiatski’s trial resumed at 10 a.m. Minsk time on November 4.

After several people arrived yesterday wearing t-shirts reading “Free Ales Bialiatski,” court officers set up a strict inspection system at the entrance to the courtroom to ensure the no one was wearing t-shirts bearing Bialiatski’s image under their shirts or carrying these shirts in their bags. Several people have already been removed from the courtroom before the end of the proceedings because of these shirts.

As in previous days, the courtroom was almost completely full.

According to the human rights defender Olga Salomatova (HFHR), people who want to attend Bialiatski’s trial must undergo stricter procedures for entering the courthouse and the courtroom than people attending other trials. A metal detector stands at the entrance, and anyone who says that he or she is going to Bialiatski’s trial must pass through it. People attending other trials are asked to pass through it only in rare cases.

Next, each person planning to attend Bialiatski’s trial must present his or her passport, data from which are recorded by officers in civilian clothes on a separate piece of paper (on the first day of the trial, this information had already been printed out by lunch time so that the names of people entering the courtroom after lunch could be checked against it). Simultaneously, everybody’s personal items are inspected. Their bags and outerwear are searched. People have been frisked in 80 percent of cases. No one attending other trials has been subjected to these procedures (according to observations over three days).

Then there is another inspection before entering the courtroom that consists of passing through a metal detector and displaying the contents of bags, which are studied carefully by officers in civilian clothes. Next, men are checked with hand held metal detectors. Finally, people must again give their names before entering the courtroom, and these are also recorded on a separate piece of paper or checked against a list that has already been prepared (if someone was in attendance earlier in the day and is entering for the second time after a break).

The people in civilian clothes who are conducting these inspections, searches, and pat downs are impossible to identify because they do not offer any information about which service they represent and what authorities they have.

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