News for 16 Feb 2009

16.02.2009 HR Center Viasna issues statement on brutal dispersal of 14 February peaceful action

On 14 February 2008 the unregistered Young Front organization conducted a peaceful youth demonstration. In spite of the fact that the action was peaceful, the demonstrators were attacked by representatives of the Belarusian riot police, using violence and compliance weapons. As a result, dozens of citizens were beaten up. However, none of the participants of the action was detained, which indicates the deliberate character of the violent actions, aimed at intimidation and display of power by the Belarusian authorities. The violence used was demonstrative and deliberately excessive. It should be observed that the action was preceded by a series of searches at the private apartments of the Young Front members.

16.02.2009 KGB finds elements of extremism in Arche magazine articles

The KGB Brest Regional Department addressed Brest Regional Court with a letter concerning the 10 copies of the Arche magazine confiscated by the Belarusian customs officers in October 2008. According to the copy of the letter received by Arche’s editorial board, issues #7 and #8 of 2008 of the magazine ‘contain elements of extremist ideology’, namely certain information ‘injuring the reputation of the Belarusian state bodies, intensifying social and political tension, encouraging mass riots and therefore undermining the national security of Belarus’ political sphere.’ The KGB demands that the confiscated editions be declared extremist and liable to destruction.

16.02.2009 Political prisoner Artsyom Dubski transferred to pre-trial detention center

Youth activist Artyom Dubski, arrested participant of the Process of 14, will be transferred to a pre-trial detention center in Babruisk.

Activist of the “Young Front”, arrested on February 13, is still in detention facility in Asipovichy. A lawyer is to visit him today.

The Charter’97 press center learnt it from press secretary of the “Young Front” Tatsyana Shaputska.

16.02.2009 Ministry of Justice vs. Nasha Viasna: Everything fair

The Ministry of Justice is collecting data on the founders of the Nasha Viasna human rights association, growing more and more inventive in finding faults with the organization’s application. In particular, the state officials keep checking the addresses of Nasha Viasna’s members. On 6 February, during a telephone conversation, a representative of the Ministry tried to learn information on the actual place of residence of one of Nasha Viasna’s members Ilya Bohdan.

16.02.2009 St. Valentine’s searches

According to RFE/RL, on 13-14 February Minsk police carried out a number of searches at the private apartments of Belarusian youth activists. On 14 February several plainclothes policemen broke into the apartment of the Young Front youth activists Mikola Dzemidzenka, Valer Matskevich and Vadzim Khaniauka. The police confiscated office equipment and a number of stickers announcing the 14 February action. However, the activists were not detained. On the previous night the police searched the private apartment of the Young front activist Kasia Halitskaya. They confiscated banners and posters prepared for the 14 February action.

16.02.2009 BCD allowed facilities to hold congress

Minsk city executive committee has issued permit to the Belarusian Christian Democracy movement for holding a constituent congress at the conference hall of Minsk Tractor Plant. BCD had previously attempted to find premises for the assembly in a number of Minsk enterprises. However, all of their applications were turned down by the city’s authorities. The congress was authorized after the BCD members declared they were going to hold the assembly in Katrsychnitskaya square in downtown Minsk. The congress is likely to be attended by a number of representatives of the European Parliament and famous public figures of Belarus.

16.02.2009 26 searches in Vaukavysk

According to Hrodna journalist Andrei Paczobut, the number of searches carried out in the framework of the so called ‘Autukhovich’s case’ is much larger than the figures provided by mass media. The total amount of searches conducted by the police may have equaled to 26, says Paczobut.

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