CoE Commissioner for Human Rights: “Azerbaijan will go down in history as the country that carried out an unprecedented crackdown on human rights defenders during its chairmanship”
Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, has written on Facebook about “one of the most difficult missions” of his “two-and-a-half year tenure as Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights” — a visit he paid to Azerbaijan to see the imprisoned human rights defenders.
On November 25, a court in Hrodna heard the administrative cases of four people who attended the traditional action in memory of the 1863 anti-Russian uprising in the town of Svislach on October 26. Judge Alena Piatrova fined journalist and human rights activist Uladzimir Khilmanovich and United Civil Party activist Jerzy Grygencha 5.25 million rubles each, and Radio Liberty journalist Mikhail Karnevich and UCP activist Vital Lopasau 2.25 mln each on charges of participating in an unsanctioned event.
Before November 5, the day of the international campaign Stand Up For Journalism, a team of BAJ members from Vitebsk took a photo at the background of a famous graffiti in Vitebsk – the image of paper-cut birds flying out of cage. This was a symbolic action to join the international campaign of the EFJ and the campaign of BAJ in support of journalists prosecuted for their professional activities.
Valadar Tsurpanau, an activist in Mahiliou, has written to the Constitutional Court asking to consider the return of responsibility for violating the law on petitions of citizens and legal entities. According to him, only liability under Art. 9.13 of the Administrative Code will be able to stop the practice, when Belarusian-language petitions are replied in Russian by officials.
On November 25, Judge Uladzimir Biasetski of the Polatsk City Court found former political prisoner Andrei Haidukou guilty of violating Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code and sentenced him to 10 days of arrest for “holding an unauthorized picket with the distribution of leaflets”.
Civil society activist Yury Liashenka was detained this afternoon in Svetlahorsk. The city authorities did not allow the wheelchair user to stage a picket at the city’s central square. The activist intended to protest against failure to meet the rights of persons with disabilities during the renovation of a residential building in Lenin Street. As a result, the desperate activist decided to hold an unsanctioned rally.
On November 24, the Brest Regional Court dismissed a cassation appeal lodged by Baranavichy entrepreneur Mikalai Charnavus in a defamation lawsuit against deputy chief of the city department of internal affairs Eldar Vilchkouski. The court session was conducted by Judge Andrei Alesenka.
On November 24, Russian border guards detained Belarusian journalist Larysa Shchyrakova and opposition activist Kanstantsin Zhukouski. The Homel-based journalist was making a story about the Belarusian-Russian border in the Dobrush district. Later they moved across the border into Russia and there filmed trucks moving from Belarus to Russia to prove restrictions on transit of Belarusian exports. They were stopped by Russian border guards, who took their passports and asked about the purpose of their trip.
Aliaksandr Vaitseshyk, activist of the independent trade union of radio-electronic industry (REP) in the city of Baranavichy, who served a 2-day detention in the police department of Niasvizh for requesting a book of complaints in a local canteen, has written a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office. In his complaint, the activist tells about poor conditions of detention and asks to close the temporary detention facility of the Niasvizh district police department.