Belarus starts trials of protesters against election results

MINSK, February 17 (Itar-Tass) - A first trial of protesters involved in acts of mass unrest staged in Minsk immediately after the December 19 presidential election in Belarus opened in Minsk on Thursday. The trial is being held in an open regime, but no photo or video cameras are allowed in the courtroom of Frunzensky district court in Minsk where the trial is going on.

Standing trial is Vasily Parfenkov, who worked at a campaign headquarters of main opposition candidates Vladimir Neklyayev. Parfenkov is facing a charge of participating in mass unrest. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 8 years in jail.

Parfenkov has been kept in custody since January 4 when he was detained. He is also facing a charge for inflicting damages estimated at more than 14 million Belarusian roubles ( 4, 650 dollars). When the court hearings first opened on Thursday it turned out that Parfenkov had a previous criminal conviction for inflicting deliberate damage to property.


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