Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Belarusian language activist gets five days in jail

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 22 February 2013
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Belarusian language activist gets five days in jail, 22 February 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/513dd1bcc.html [accessed 21 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

February 22, 2013

By RFE/RL's Belarus Service

Belarusian artist Henik Loyka (center) at his court hearing in Minsk.Belarusian artist Henik Loyka (center) at his court hearing in Minsk.

MINSK – A Belarusian activist has been jailed for five days after staging a demonstration aimed at protecting the Belarusian language.

Minsk-based sculptor Henik Loyka was arrested on February 22 after he unfolded a sign saying, "Congratulations on International Mother Language Day! Lyceum No. 4 used to be a Belarusian School."

Loyka told journalists after his protest in front of the Minsk school that the "Russification of Belarusian schools in our country is under way and we have to stop it."

Loyka was charged with holding an unapproved public protest and sentenced the same day. The judge rejected Loyka's demand to hold the hearing in Belarusian, and the trial proceeded in Russian.

Both are designated as official languages in the Belarusian Constitution, but the Russian language predominates in the country.

Link to original story on RFE/RL website

Copyright notice: Copyright (c) 2007-2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036

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