News for December 2008

15.12.2008 Minsk: protest of entrepreneurs

Some thousands of people took part in a protest rally of entrepreneurs. The protesters demanded liberalization of business environment in Belarus.

15.12.2008 Minsk: celebration of ‘BelSat’ anniversary and ‘Clip Marathon’ are disrupted

On 14 December a festival Clip marathon of Belarusian video clips was to take place in Aquarium club. However, two days before the event its organizers had to cancel it.

15.12.2008 Police detain busses with entrepreneurs heading for protest action in Minsk

Traffic police didn’t let two buses hired by entrepreneurs for a trip to Minsk out of Svetlahorsk.

15.12.2008 Slovakia condemns Belarus for harassment of human rights defenders

The Foreign Ministry of Slovakia condemns arrests of civil activists in Minsk on 10 December.

12.12.2008 Court justifies ‘Svaboda’

On 12 December Iuye district court held a repeated trial concerning ‘extremist articles’ in August issue of the unregistered newspaper Svaboda. According to the lawyer Pavel Sapelka, who represented the newspaper’s interests at the trial, the court rejected the suit of Ihar Siarheyenka, head of Hrodna oblast KGB department, as no extremist articles have been found in the issue in question.

12.12.2008 Another complaint to UN

Vitsebsk human rights defenders Alexander Mikulin and Leanid Svetsik filed to the UN Human Rights Committee a complaint concerning the registered violations during the election to the Chamber of Representatives of the fourth Convocation.

12.12.2008 Baran: total dactylography is going on

Unknown persons in civvies continue taking workers’ fingerprints at state enterprises of Orsha district. The administration of the enterprises assists them in it. If somebody asks about the legal grounds for such actions, they are shown Xerox copies of an excerpt from the law where the words ‘liable for military service’ are underlined. Those who refuse to give their fingerprints are threatened with having troubles with their bosses. In particular, such cases have been registered today at the unitary enterprise Lios in the town of Baran.

12.12.2008 Ministry of Justice demands explanations concerning activities of BPF Youth

The Ministry of Justice submitted to the Board of the Belarusian Popular Front Party the demand to present information on BPF Youth. In the text of the ministry’s request it is also said that all structures of political parties must be created on territorial principle. ‘Therewith, according to the information of the Ministry of Justice, recently the activities of a structure of the BPF Party – BPF Youth have started. In particular, on 25-26 October 2008 the assembly of this structure was held and its chairman was elected,’ writes the deputy minister of justice A.Bileichyk.

12.12.2008 Pressurization of member of ‘For Freedom’ movement

Officers of law-enforcement agencies pressurize Siarhei Trafimchyk, a member of the unregistered movement For Freedom from the settlement of Biarozauka. On 12 December people in civvies paid a visit to his apartment. They tried to find out the reasons for his critical attitude to the authorities.

12.12.2008 Activist of ‘For Freedom’ movement Ihar Salavei gets fined

On 11 December a trial over the member of the For Freedom movement Ihar Salavei took place in Pinsk. The activist was found guilty under article 25.1 part 3 of the Administrative Code (failure to appear at the military enlistment office on a writ). Mr. Salavei could not come to the military enlistment office as he was in Poland at the specified time. Nevertheless, the court ruled that he was to be fined 35 000 rubles (about $16, minimal sum of fine).

12.12.2008 Youth activist Ivan Shyla is illegally drafted to army

On 11 December the activist of Salihorsk Young Front Ivan Shyla received a writ to appear in the military enlistment office at his residence. Ivan Shyla was said a decision medical unfitness taken in November was cancelled, he must be drafted to army within some days and he had been put on the list of persons restricted to leave Belarus for that time.

12.12.2008 Legislative invention of Belarusian KGB

Introduction of administrative responsibility for divulging state secrets through negligence is planned in Belarus.

11.12.2008 Actions of Zhodzina human rights defenders evoked only positive emotions among citizens

On 10 December a number of festive actions dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were held in Zhodzina. Human rights defenders and civil society activists distributed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the streets, at the procuracy, at the executive committee, at the youth center, at a number of secondary schools, at the check-point of the Belarusian Automobile Plant. In some cases other informational materials were distributed as well. Color posters with description of all articles of the Declaration were presented to officers of the abovementioned state institutions.

11.12.2008 Baranavichy: human rights activists congratulate youth

On 10 December in Baranavichy human rights activists V.Bolbat, S.Housha, K.Piatrovich and V.Syrytsa congratulated citizens on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by distribution of brochures with the text of this document among population out in the streets. A special attention was paid to youth.

10 December: chronicle of celebration (incomplete)

11.12.2008 10 December: chronicle of celebration (incomplete)

On 10 December the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated in Belarus. The event was marked by numerous detentions and other hindrance from the side of the Belarusian authorities.

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