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72-year-old activist fined after three days in detention

Nina Bahinskaya in court / /

The Minsk District Court on 8 April ruled to award a BYN1275 ($610) fine to 72-year-old opposition activist Nina Bahinskaya.

Bahinskaya was detained on 5 April in Kurapaty, Stalin-era mass execution site near the Minsk beltway, when she was protesting against the removal of several dozen crosses along the perimeter of the people’s memorial. The lady was charged with disobedience to the police and petty hooliganism.

Since 5 April, Bahinskaya was on a hunger strike in a pretrial detention cell.

During the trial, she refused to stand up when the judge entered the hearing room. “You mean nothing to me. I do not recognize this court,” she said. The judge allowed her to remain seated during the hearing. Bahinskaya refused to testify, saying: “I do not consider this a fair trial. I do not violate the Constitution.” After those words, she turned away from the judge. 

The judge initially sent the case to the police for revision but it came back quickly with stronger evidence, allowing the court to penalize the elderly activist with a fine.

The average monthly pension in Belarus is $150-200.