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Belarus: Documentary filmmaker arrested for allegedly participating in a protest

23 October 2020
Image: Soldiers in front of Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum / Courtesy of Maksim Shved

 

10 August: Maksim Shved, a documentary film director, was arrested in Belarus while filming his new project, as reported by DW. The film director was detained while protests broke against widely contested re-election results from Belarus’ only president since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko.

He was arrested because of resisting the police and accused of “participating in mass unauthorised events”. In an interview for Express-BY, Shved shed light on Belarusian police brutality: “they beat me up, wrung my hands, head into the ground”.

The filmmaker served five days in prison and was released.

Shved commented on his accusation of “participating in mass unauthorised events”, claiming that he was carrying out his professional activities during the riots, and not merely protesting. 

On the day of his arrest, Shved interviewed taxi drivers and passengers on the epicentre of the protests about the election results. As it was the case all around the country, many protesters went missing – Shved’s partner was only able to find where he was being held after asking Belarusian human rights organisation, Viasna, for help.

On early October, 1,300 Belarusian artists, including Maksim Shved, signed a public appeal condemning the rigged election results, police and militia brutality, and other violations of Belarusian law. They demanded an end to repression and to the Belarusian cultural community in particular.

On 7 October 2020, Freemuse addressed the letter to Belarus authorities and international policy interlocutors on prosecution and detention of artists and cultural rights defenders in Belarus.

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