Activists threatened with preventive detention ahead of Hockey World Championship


Human rights defenders have received information about possible provocations against opposition activists and their preventive detention ahead of the forthcoming Ice Hockey World Championship, due to open on 9 May. This was confirmed by the coordinator of the European Belarus movement Maksim Viniarski, who was recently released after a 15-day arrest.

According to HRC “Viasna” website, he said that before his release he was offered to temporarily leave the capital. A police officer told him that if he considered himself a reasonable person, he should realize that he had but two options: either to leave Belarus or to go to the country for some time (referring to the time of the Ice Hockey World Championship). Because “the issue with everyone” will be resolved anyway, the detention center employee warned the activist.

In response to this warning, Viniarski said that he did not use drugs, used foul language, was not prone to misbehavior, and so his possible arrest should be regarded as preventive isolation because of his political beliefs.

Maksim Viniarski also says that many administrative detainees held under Articles 17.1 (hooliganism) and 17.3 (appearing drunk in a public place) of the Administrative Code will be sent to active therapy centers.

Thus, the authorities of Minsk are preparing a total cleansing of unwanted persons who may in any way mar the image of Belarus among numerous foreign guests expected during the event.

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