News for 18 May 2009

18.05.2009 Mikalai Autukhovich’s life in danger: he is transferred to prison hospital

Condition of the political prisoner makes impossible his staying in the pre-trial detention center. Mikalai Autukhovich, who has been on hunger strike for more than a month, is transferred to the Republican Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The human rights center Viasna learnt this from Pavel Sapelka, lawyer of the arrested entrepreneur.

“Today, when I was visiting Mikalai Autukhovich, he was told he would be transferred to the Republican Hospital of the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It means that his condition has deteriorated making it impossible to that he could stay in the detention center, even in the medical unit,” Pavel Sapelka said.

18.05.2009 Human rights activist to stand trial for organizing rally at anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

An administrative case of Tamara Shchapyotkina, public and human rights activist from Byaroza, is to take place in the Byaroza district court at 4.00 p.m. May 20.

The activist is accused of violation of the rules of organizing and holding a mass street event (part 1, article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Belarus), human rights center Viasna reports.

On April 26, during a traditional action “Candle of Memory” timed to an anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Tamara Shchapyotkina was detained by militia in Byaroza.

The action “Candle of Memory” has been carried out in Byaroza for the eighth time. It has never been agreed upon with officials, as its format, human rights activists think, doesn’t fall within the law.

18.05.2009 Belarusian authorities ignore recommendations by ILO

According to www.regionby.org, the National Council for the Improvement of Social and Labour Legislation has refused to reinstate 5 fired workers, engaged in independent trade union movement, despite the repeated recommendations by the International Labour Organization. Instead, the workers were offered various kinds of compensation. According to an independent trade union leader Vadzim Dukhamenka, ‘no partial compensations would be considered as the implementation of the recommendations by the ILO.’ ‘The government want to solve the problem of the ILO recommendations by petty sops, instead of reinstating the activists in their jobs. As a result, this impedes with the independent trade unions’ regular activities,’ says trade union activist Mikalai Sharakh.

18.05.2009 Case against human rights activist Leanid Svetsik reaches trial

Vitsebsk regional prosecutor’s office has submitted the lawsuit against the local human rights activist Leanid Svetsik to Vitsebsk regional court. No details on the trial are known yet. Leanid Svetsik has been accused of fomenting religious strife and libel against President Lukashenka. Mr.Svetsik does not admit his guilt, saying the prosecution is the result of his human rights activities.

18.05.2009 Ministry of education to close down private universities’ local offices

According to www.regionby.org, thousands of non-Minsk students may be deprived of their right to higher education in case Minister of Education Aliaksandr Radzkou succeeds in his attempt to close down local offices of private universities. As a result, many of them would not be able to commute between their home towns and Minsk. As yet, the Ministry of Education has not arrived at a final decision.

18.05.2009 KGB induce Young Front activists to cooperation

According to Young Front press-service, a YF member Nadzeya Pekraskaya was offered collaboration by a number of KGB agents during a conversation at the Journalists’ Faculty of Belarusian State University. ‘They said they would help solve all my problems,’ said Ms.Pekarskaya. She also had a conversation with the Faculty Dean Mr.Dubovik, who demanded that the activist provided explanations on her recent arrest during the 7 May rally. As a result, the official said the girl would be expelled from the University in case she is detained again.’

18.05.2009 Youth activists stopped hunger strike

Participants of hunger strike of solidarity with Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka stopped the strike.

This decision was reached on May 15, after Belarusian politicians – one of the leaders of the unregistered Belarusian Christian Democracy party Paval Sevyarynets, head of the BPF partyLyavon Barshcheuski, leader of the “For Freedom” movement Alyaksandr Milinkevich, as well as Mikalai Statkevich, and Vyachaslau Siuchyk – addressed them.

18.05.2009 Riot militia against participants of solidarity rally in Minsk: new arrests of oppositionists

Activists of “Young Front” and “European Belarus” were detained for they went to October square with portraits of political prisoners on May 16.

20 youth activists gathered in Minsk center at 6.00 p.m. to hold a traditional rally of solidarity. The participants of the action were holding portraits of political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka and raised a national white-red-white flag.

Riot militiamen in uniform and in mufti stood on the square and hindered holding the rally for 15 minutes. When demonstrators went away in small groups, Pavel Kuryanovich, Yullia Mikhailava, Viktoria Ladis and Bahuslau Revyakou were detained in a pedestrian subway. The oppositionists were guarded to a militia station on “Kastrychnitskaya” metro station.

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