News for May 2008
30.05.2008 Human Rights Activist Leanid Svetsik interrogated by KGB
Human rights activist Leanid Svetsik and editor-in-chief of the Kurier iz Vitsebska newsletter Uladzimer Bazan have been interrogated by Vitsebsk regional KGB officials. They also were warned of possible persecution for commenting on the details of the interrogation due to 'security reasons'.
It's the second time Leanid Svetsik is interrogated by KGB. The first contact took place on 23 May after a search in his private appartment. He was named witness in a criminal case.
The lawyer has been engaged in providing legal consultations to Vitsebsk activists threatened by the pro-Nazi RNE movement. Uladzimir Bazan was one of their vicitms.
28.05.2008 Public statement of Belarusian voluntary society for protection of monuments of history and culture
In 2004 the building which belonged to the voluntary society for protection of monuments of history and culture and was restored at the expense of the organization (as well as almost all buildings in this historical block), was unlawfully nationalized for the benefit of the state. The state proved to be shameless enough to make the former investor a renter. Then, executing a new presidential decree for economical liquidation of the civil society, the authorities refused to prolong the rent agreement to the voluntary society. Instead, it was proposed that the organization should leave its premises by 3 p.m. on 15 May 2008.
28.05.2008 MFA gives no accreditation to Radio Racyja journalist
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus denied accreditation to Radio Racyja journalist Aliaksei Minchonak. It was the first time journalists of the radio addressed for accreditation to work in Belarus, and a denial was received at once.
28.05.2008 Sviatlana Zavadskaya sues Mikhail Tsitsiankou
Sviatlana Zavadskaya, widow of the forcibly kidnapped ORT TV cameraman, appealed to court against the decision of Mikhail Titsenkou, deputy head of the Minsk city executive committee, on banning a picket, dedicated to the anniversary of disappearing of Yury Zakharanka, the former minister of the internal affairs.
28.05.2008 Amnesty International Report 2008, state of the world human rights (Belarus' section)
The clampdown on civil society by the government continued. Any form of public activity not sanctioned by the state, including religious worship, was liable to prosecution and rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly were disregarded. Opposition activists were given long prison sentences for the peaceful expression of their views, or activists were harassed and prosecuted under the administrative code for lesser offences and fined or detained for short periods. Human rights and opposition organizations faced considerable difficulties in registering and activists were prosecuted for acting in the name of unregistered organizations. Belarus remained the only country in Europe still executing prisoners.
27.05.2008 Last sentences in the ‘case of 14’
Chronicle of the trial
27.05.2008 KGB persecutes Belarusian human rights activists
On Friday, 23 May 2008 three KGB officers suddenly burst into the apartment of Leanid Svetsik, human rights activist from Vitsebsk. They showed to him the ruling of the prosecutor’s office for initiation of criminal proceedings under Article 130.1 of the Criminal Case of the Republic of Belarus (fomentation of national and religious enmity). According to this ruling, Mr. Svetsik is considered a witness in the case of threats to certain citizens from the side of the underground neo-Nazi organization Russian National Unity (RNE).
27.05.2008 Edvard Balanchuk gets searched on the border again
On Monday, 26 May, the human rights activist from Maladechna Edvard Balanchuk was detained for the second time this month, now – at the border crossing point Kamenny Loh.
27.05.2008 Baranavichy: police beat 'Young Front' activists
Four national flags appeared opposite the city hall and the Baranavichy city executive committee in the morning of 23 May. After a while Yaraslau Hryshchenia, the leader of Baranavichy branch of Young Front, and his friends Artsiom Lastavetski and Piatro Ruzau were detained in the street. After the policemen searched Yaraslau and found two flags in his bag, they struck him down to the ground and started beating.
27.05.2008 Political prisoner Andrei Kim is kept in quarantine of Babruisk penal colony
Andrei’s mother, Tatsiana Kim, learnt it from the special department of the colony. ‘I phoned there and they said there was such a person there, they told he wasn’t convicted, but had filed a cassation appeal,’ Tatsiana Kim told to RFE/RL.
27.05.2008 Searches and arrests in Vitsebsk
Paval Liavinau, member of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), got 10 days of administrative arrests and a fine of 700 000 rubles (about 328 US dollars).
27.05.2008 Zmitser Khvedaruk gets 10 days of jail for celebrating Day of Europe
12 May Zmitser Khvedaruk, one of the leaders of the Young Front, was sentenced in absentia to 10 days of arrest for participation in the action on 1 May, the Day of Europe. Besides, he must pay a fine of 1 050 000 rubles (about 493 US dollars) for allegedly resistance to the police during the detention. He was informed about the verdict only on 23 May.
23.05.2008 Siarhei Abrazouski fined again
22 May the judge of Pukhavichy district court Sviatlana Akulich ruled to fine the civil activist Siarhei Abrazouski 1.4 million rubles for alleged organization of an unauthorized rally against the construction of a chemical plant near Minsk heating station #5.
23.05.2008 Teachers protest against exclusion of ‘artistic culture of the world’ subject from curriculum
The teachers of the ‘artistic culture of the world’ subject from more than 20 cities of Belarus have signed an open letter to the national authorities and the Belarusian exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, asking to leave their subject in the school curriculum.
23.05.2008 Yury Istomin fined for concert of Polish band
Yury Istomin, chairman of Hrodna city branch of the United Civil Party, was fined 1 050 000 rubles (about 493 US dollars) for organization of the concert of the Polish band Transkapela in the UCP office on 13 May.