News for 17 Feb 2009

17.02.2009 Ex-leader of Belarus speaks in support of Nasha Viasna

Mechyslau Hryb, ex-Chair of the Supreme Soviet of the 12th Convocation (1994-1996), has expressed his support to the Nasha Viasna human rights association. ‘As for the registration of Nasha Viasna, I think it is high time the organization was registered. I also think that the more human rights NGOs Belarus has, the easier it would be for Belarusian citizens to protect their rights,’ said Mr.Hryb.

17.02.2009 Sviatlana Aleksievich: ‘I think our world will always be a world of murderers’

The famous Belarusian writer Svitalana Aleksievich has joined the campaign ‘Human Rights Activists against Capital Punishment’, by signing the petition to the Belarusian authorities. ‘For over 30 years I have been writing my ‘red chronicle’ – my series of books. I have written about war. I was in Afghanistan and saw people being killed… I have always thought about how people can live together knowing they can kill each other at any time, that is do God’s work. Since no one has the right to do this.

17.02.2009 Court turns down claim by independent journalist

Minsk Maskouski Borough Court rejected the claim by the independent journalist Maryna Koktysh working with the Narodnaya volia newspaper, following the decision by the House of Representatives to deny accreditation to the reporter. Having considered the claim, Judge Alena Rudnitskaya resolved to turn down the civil action due to ‘the applicant’s inability to appeal the decision.’ According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists’ press-service, the newspaper is going to appeal the decision at Minsk City Court.

17.02.2009 Court turns down claim by independent journalist

Minsk Maskouski Borough Court rejected the claim by the independent journalist Maryna Koktysh working with the Narodnaya volia newspaper, following the decision by the House of Representatives to deny accreditation to the reporter. Having considered the claim, Judge Alena Rudnitskaya resolved to turn down the civil action due to ‘the applicant’s inability to appeal the decision.’ According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists’ press-service, the newspaper is going to appeal the decision at Minsk City Court.

17.02.2009 Young Front activists lodge complaint against police violence

A number of Young Front members have lodged a claim with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s office against the excessive use of violence by the riot police during the 14 February action. The claim features several testimonies by participants of the action.

17.02.2009 Valery Bulhakau: ‘KGB substitutes ideology control bodies’

The editorial board of the Arche magazine has been called in evidence concerning the confiscated issues of the magazine, named ‘extremist’ by the KGB Brest regional department. During an interview with www.euramost.org, Arche’s editor-in-chief Valery Bulhakau said: ‘Unless the decision of the court takes effect, we cannot state that Arche is an extremist magazine. As yet, this is nothing but an opinion by the KGB. We will see if the charges will be supported by the court. I hope that common sense will help the judges understand that the action is nonsense.’

17.02.2009 Local BPF office leader detained in Vitsebsk

On 16 February Vitsebsk police detained Kanstantsin Smolikau, head of BPF’s Vitsebsk Regional office, for distributing leaflets covering the events of 8 February when three Belarusian independent trade union members were arrested in the town of Vaukavysk. A few hours later the BPF leader was released. According to Mr.Smolikau, he is going to appeal the actions of the police.

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