News for 25 Feb 2009

Mikhas Pashkevich speaks in support of Nasha Viasna

25.02.2009 Mikhas Pashkevich speaks in support of Nasha Viasna

Mikhas Pashekvich, leader of the UCPB’s youth wing ‘Young Democrats’, has commented on the situation with the registration of the Nasha Viasna human rights organization. ‘The registration of Nasha Viasna is necessary to enable the professionals work freely and efficiently. The lists of the Ministry of Justice include a lot of puppet NGOs that nobody knows and nobody needs, only necessary for the sake of creating the décor. At the same time, members of Viasna have proved their competence, constantly running the risk of being prosecuted for illegal activities under Article 193. So the issue of Nasha Viasna’s registration might be another touchstone for Belarus. I do hope that the government will behave sensibly and refrain from confusing human rights activity with politics.’

25.02.2009 Youth historical NGO Talaka warned

Homel Regional Department of Justice has issued a warning to the youth local history public association Talaka for using the unregistered insignia on its website advertisements. According to Talaka head Larysa Shchyrakova, the justice department considered the abbreviation of Talaka’s name a separate logo. ‘The warning must be caused by the increasing public activity of the NGO’, says Mrs.Shchyrakova.

25.02.2009 Zhanna Litvina comments on the ARCHE extremism case

"The decision taken today by a court in Brest can be compared in its odiousness with the notorious events of 27 March 2008, when KGB officers conducted searches in journalists" flats all around the country. Now KGB takes upon itself the censorship functions. This is a serious infringement of the freedom of expression and the hallmark of disrespect to the right of citizens to receive information," the Chairperson of BAJ Zhanna Litvina commented about the ARCHE magazine "extremism case".

25.02.2009 Journalists banned from cooperating with Belsat TV channel

Member of the Belarusian Association of Journalist Tatsyana Bublikava was called to the prosecutor’s office of the Homel region on February 24.

She was warned there she can’t cooperate with foreign media without accreditation according to part 4 of article 35 of the new law on media.

As Bublikava told BelaPAN, she was said that two citizen had appealed the prosecutor’s office with a demand to check the journalist, who allegedly cooperated with Polish satellite channel Belsat. Bublikava was given printouts from the website for November 22, 2008. One of the materials contained a comment of director of Homel Drama Theatre Valyantsina Maiseenka about the city festival. According to prosecution officers, the head of the theatre complained that Bublikava hadn’t warned her that the material would appear in Polish media.

25.02.2009 Arrested leaders of market vendors denied defence

Family members of the political prisoners Yury Lyavonau, Mikalay Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka have been denied a right to act as defence lawyers of the arrested businessmen.

As the press-centre of the Charter’97 has been informed by the Belarusian lawyer Aleh Vouchak, investigator prohibited close relatives of the leaders of entrepreneurs represent their interests as lawyers.

“Alena Autukhovich, Yuliya Lyavonava and Liudmila Asipenka have addressed the investigator Kukharchyk in connection with the fact that false information started to appear in mass media about involvement of the arrested businessmen to some “armed organised grouping”. Some publications stated that during the search firearms and explosives were found in their flats. However, these objects haven’t been recorded in the documents,” the lawyer said.

As said by Aleh Vouchak, in connection with “the flow of lies and provocative information” families decided to act as defence of the arrested.

25.02.2009 Maksim Dashuk released from remand prison and put under “house arrest”

Maksim Dashuk, participant of the Process of 14 and activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, was released from remand prison on February 24.

“A measure of restraint Maksim Dashuk is a recognisance not to leave and proper behaviour,” Maksim Dashuk’s lawyer Pavel Sapelka told the Charter’97 press center.

According to the lawyer, activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Maksim Dashuk is charged under Article 415 of the Criminal Code of Belarus allegedly for evasion of serving punishment, he received for participation in a protest rally of entrepreneurs. About five violations of serving sentence of restriction of liberty were recorded.

The minor activist had to work because of difficult financial standing of his family. Father of the oppositionist died in April 2008 ahead of trials in the Process of 14. Maksim Dashuk helped his mother with work. By this, according to militia, he violated the rules of serving punishment of restriction of liberty.

25.02.2009 Issue of ARCHE magazine found “extremist”

Today morning a trial has started in Brest. It is to recognize the 7-8th issue of the independent “ARCHE” magazine extremist.

Judge has announced that the session of the court is to be held behind the closed doors, so only a KGB representative and the lawyer of the magazine are present at the hearings.

People who have gathered to support the magazine and its editors haven’t been allowed to be present in the court room.

As a result, the issue number 7-8 of “ARCHE” has been recognized extremist. Judge hadn’t asked any questions. Lawyer Pavel Sapelka states that the ruling is illegal.

25.02.2009 Swedish Helsinki Committe issues statement on Nasha Viasna registration

The Swedish Helsinki Committe has addressed Ms Natalia Petkevich, First Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, with an open letter concerning the registration of the Nasha Viasna human rights organization and urging the presidential administration to ensure registration of 'this important human rights organisation.'

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