News for 24 Mar 2009

24.03.2009 Amnesty International presents report on death penalty in Minsk

On 24 March the international human rights organization Amnesty International presented its annual report on the use of the death penalty. The report underlines that Belarus is the only European country which still uses the capital punishment. Nicola Duckworth, Director of the AI Program for Europe and Central Asia, stresses that the death penalty is the most inhuman, cruel and degrading form of punishment: ‘There is no room for hanging, beheading, electrocution, lethal injection or lapidating in the 21th century.’

24.03.2009 Vitsebsk authorities ban 25 March demonstration

Vitsebsk City Executive Committee has banned the 25 Freedom Day action organized by the Belarusian Popular Front’s local activists. In its reply to the application by the BPF’s Vitsebsk City Office, the local authorities said the requested location was not meant for holding mass actions and thus put a ban on the rally.

24.03.2009 Ideologists pressurize Belarusian Christian Democracy

According the Belarusian Christian Democracy’s press-service, one of the co-founders of the movement Kira Chuk was threatened with dismissal by her employer in case she did not withdraw her signature. She was also forced to write an explanation concerning her participation in the constituent congress of the BCD. The administration of Mahiliou Car Plant say there could be only one party at the enterprise – the pro-government Belaya Rus. Kira Chuk says her contract expires in December 2009 and her employer is not likely to extend it. Besides, she fears her political activity may result in certain financial claims.

24.03.2009 Public activist claims he is harassed by authorities

Ivan Kruk, activist of the For Freedom movement, has lodged claims with Hrodna Regional Prosecutor’s Office, General Prosecutor’s Office and Hrodna Regional KGB Department against the unlawful actions by the police and the KGB agents. The activist claims he and his colleague Mikalai Ulasevich have been harassed for their civil activities against the construction of a nuclear power plant in the town of Astravets, including illegal searches and an unlawful detention on 4 March. The activist is also indignant at the unwillingness of the local prosecutor’s office and the police to investigate the facts of libel against Ivan Kruk and Mikalai Ulasevich.

24.03.2009 Participant of Process of 14 Alyaksandr Barazenka beaten by militia

Activist of the “European Belarus” campaign got a warning for alleged violation of order of serving punishment.

As the website of the civil campaign “European Belarus” reports, on March 23, Alyaksandr Barazenka came to the Frunzenski district criminal procedure inspection to check in at the fixed time. Syarhei Kisel, inspector for corrections, took him to the office, and began to swear, insult the young man, shout that he would rot the guy in prison. Moreover, the militia officers hit Alyaksandr Barazenka in his face several times. After that Kisel gave Barazenka a warning for violation of order of serving punishment.

24.03.2009 Military court finds Viachorka’s draft legal

On 23 March Minsk Intergarrison Tribunal turned down the claim by the youth opposition leader Franak Viachorka and found his conscription legal, including the events that took place on 16 February when the activist was beaten and forcefully escorted to the local military enlistment and registration office. His draft was later suspended by a court decision. However, two days later Viachorka was detained by the police and taken to a military unit in Baranavichy.

24.03.2009 Minsk City Court ignores UN rulings

The civil panel of Minsk City Court have rejected the complaint lodged by Viktar Karneenka against the decision by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denying the Civil Initiatives movement its rights to legal activity. Thus, Minsk City Court has supported an earlier decision by Minsk Leninski Court, stating that Viktar Karneenka, as head of the Civil Initiatives, cannot be the legal chair of the organization after its liquidation in 2003.

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