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Memorial human rights defender arrested in Minsk after visiting Vyasna court session

A court in Minsk has sent Yekaterina Yanshina, a Russian journalist and a human rights defender with Memorial, to jail for 15 days for “petty hooliganism”, Memorial reports.

Yekaterina Yanshina, photo courtesy of Memorial

Yekaterina Yanshina, photo courtesy of Memorial

Yanshina arrived in Minsk as an independent observer at a court session against the Belarusian human rights centre Vyasna scheduled for 5 January. As Memorial reports, right after the end of the session, she was detained and taken to a back room “for a talk”.

Court officials claim that Yekaterina was filming the court session and was taking pictures of it, which is not allowed. They said they would check her gadgets and take her to the police to “prepare a report”.

Yekaterina was out of touch with her associates for 15 hours, her whereabouts unknown. It was revealed on Friday morning that she spent the night in a temporary detention facility and was later sent to jail for 15 days.

Memorial noted that blatant malpractice was used against Yanshina: she was not allowed to speak to her lawyer in private, was not provided evidence of her wrongdoing, and the police reports had multiple mistakes.

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