News for July 2009
31.07.2009 Activist Kruk demands unbiased inspection of his case
Ivan Kruk, public activist from the town of Astravets, Hrodna region, one of the initiators of the public campaign against the construction of a nuclear power plant, has lodged another complaint with Hrodna Regional Prosecutor’s Office demanding to initiate another full and unbiased inspection of his previous claim, which was left unattended by the authorities. ‘Astravets policemen, together with court officials and representatives of the local Prosecutor’s Office, had a political motivation to prosecute me at any cost. Meanwhile, they made a number of procedural mistakes while considering the materials of my civil prosecution,’ said Mr.Kruk in his complaint. On 26 June Astravets District Court fined Ivan Kruk BYR 700,000 for distributing independent media. The complaint was also sent to the International Federation of Human Rights and a number of Belarusian mass media.
31.07.2009 Some 2,500 persons released under amnesty
Some 2,500 convicts have been released from Belarusian prisons under an amnesty marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazi invaders, the BELTA news agency reports quoting Minister of the Interior Anatol Kuliashou. At a special session of the Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs and CIS Relations, Mr.Kuliashou also mentioned the possibility of liberalizing the criminal legislation of Belarus. Still, the Minister admitted Belarus occupies the third place in the number of convicts, Russia and the USA taking the first two.
31.07.2009 Court denied human rights activists and took side of “Sovetskaya Belorussia”
The Minsk City Court dismissed the claim of Halina Yubko, head of the initiative “Women against Lawlessness in Courts and Procuracy” against the newspaper of Lukashenka’s Administration.
The Savetski district court of Minsk dismissed the claim against “Sovetsakaya Belorusia” a month ago, Radio Svaboda reports.
Halina Yubko found offensive the information spread by the newspaper in February about the initiative “Women against Lawlessness in Courts and Procuracy”. The newspaper wrote that women unsatisfied with court judgements allegedly “press courts with tears and cries”. Halina Yubko, found a victim by court, can’t reach a solution of case for some years, said at the trial she “had used only legal means and was seeking the rights guaranteed by the Constitution”.
30.07.2009 ENEMO issues statement on parliamentary election in Moldova
ENEMO (European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations) has issued a statement on the pre-term parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova. ‘The ENEMO International Observers’ Mission in the Republic of Moldova officially declares that it withdraws its international monitoring mission of the parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova. The mission would like to declare that, under the conditions created by the authorities, it is absolutely impossible to perform an adequate monitoring. Besides opposition by the official authorities, the observers received threats from unknown persons of criminal appearance. In this situation, the mission cannot guarantee the security of its observers and will have to stop its activities,’ says the statement.
30.07.2009 Oppositionist detained for action of solidarity with political prisoner Dubski
“Young Front” activists from Lida town pasted information posters “Freedom to Dubski” on Wednesday.
Two people in mufti and militiamen came up to “Young Front” activist Vadzim Barouski in the evening July 29 near the town park, where the activist was spreading information about the political prisoner. The guy was guarded to the district militia department. The youth activist gave explanations there and was freed an hour later,” the website mfront.net reports.
Dozens of portraits of arrested participant of the Process of 14 Artsyom Dubski appeared in the streets.
29.07.2009 Authorities planning to make entrepreneurs’ trial closed, says Aleh Volchak
The authorities are doing their best to make the trial of the three Vaukavyssk entrepreneurs Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Liavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka a closed one, said lawyer and ex-investigator Aleh Volchak during a press-conference on 28 July in Minsk. ‘With the preliminary investigation being carried out in secret, with the lawyers having been forced to sign a pledge of secrecy, I suppose that the trial will be a closed one. This is what their tactics are about,’ said Mr.Volchak.
29.07.2009 Prosecutor’s office issued warning to Union of Poles’ magazine’s editor-in-chief
The prosecutor’s office of Hrodna believes that “Magazyn Polski na uchodzstwie” violates the Belarusian law.
As Radio Racyja was informed by the editor-in-chief Ihar Bantsar, the motive for issuing a warning were his professional activities and the fact that the magazine of the Union of Poles in Belarus which is not recognized by the authorities, headed by Anzelika Borys, does not have an imprint required by the Belarusian law
28.07.2009 Court reduces sentence to Ales Straltsou in violation to Law on Amnesty
One of the participants of the ‘Case of 14’ Ales Straltsou has lodged a complaint with Minsk City Court against the verdict of Minsk Tsentralny Court of 15 June 2009, which reduced the activist’s sentence. However, Ales Straltsou must have been freed from the punishment under the Law on Amnesty. In April 2008 Ales Straltsou was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for ‘peace disturbance’ during the January 2008 entrepreneurs’ rally in Minsk. The sentence was later reduced to 14 months of imprisonment and 15 days of correctional work.
28.07.2009 Homel regional pro-dem forces launch campaign for return of benefits
Homel pro-democratic activists have launched a political campaign for the imposition of regional benefits for socially vulnerable citizens. According to the Coordinating Council of the United Pro-Democratic Forces, the evergrowing crisis tendencies have made certain groups of people, deprived of state support in the time of relative well-being, strive for survival. One of the local pro-dem leaders Vasil Paliakou expatiated upon the matter: ‘The authority of the local councils includes the possibility of imposing benefits for certain groups of people. That is why we are going to initiate collection of signatures aimed at forcing local council deputies to carry through the draft bill that will eventually let the most vulnerable groups of people – retired persons, students, children, disabled etc. – enjoy certain social benefits.
28.07.2009 Mass arrests on Independence Day in Minsk
Riot militiamen arrested more than 20 activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” who wanted to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Belarus in the centre of Minsk.
On July 27 at 7 p.m. in Yanka Kupala park activists of the civil campaign “European Belarus” planned to hold a flash mob dedicated to the Independence Day of Belarus. Each one of the young people took out a copy of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Belarus and started to read it.
28.07.2009 Editor of magazine of Union of Poles in Belarus summoned to prosecutor’s office
Editor-in-chief of “Magazyn Polski na uchodźstwie” Ihar Bantsar received a summons from the prosecutor’s office of the Hrodna region saying he must give explanations to the deputy prosecutor.
Ihar Bantsar doesn’t exclude the reason for summons was the May issue of “Magazyn Polski na uchodźstwie”, containing a number of critical materials about Alyaksandr Lukashenka and measures taken by the committee of state security (KGB) against independent journalists. Besides, a collage depicting Lukashenka as Russian tsar Alexander III was placed on the cover, the independent journalist told Radio Svaboda.
28.07.2009 In Lida Young Front activists detained for leaflets “Freedom to Dubski”in Lida Young Front activists detained for leaflets “Freedom to Dubski”
On July 27 in Lida near the railway station policemen detained Vadzim Barouski and Kastus Litvinski.
Young activists were pasting informational leaflets about the political prisoner Artsyom Dubski.
Policemen took “Young Front” activists to the regional police department.
“In the regional police department policemen didn’t know what article to pin on us, so they put the Criminal Code on the table and said: you can choose one yourselves,” Vadzim Barouski said in an interview to the website mfront.net.
28.07.2009 Prosecutor's office checks whether Belsat TV channel works in Belarus
The prosecutor’s office of Shklou studies the complaint by an engineer of a news paper plant against an independent Mahilyou-based journalist Henadz Sudnik.
As informed by Radio Svaboda, today Henadz Sudnik has been giving explanations to the prosecutor of Shklou’s prosecutor’s office.
The journalist was served a summons to the prosecutor’s office. The conversation lasted for about an hour. Henadz Sudnik called the complaint by the chief engineer a provocation.
27.07.2009 Human rights activists speak against language discrimination in Belarusian army
Representatives of the Human Rights Center Viasna have addressed Belarusian Minister of Defense and Prosecutor General with a demand to put an end to illegal harassment of Private F.Viachorka and other Belarusian-speaking soldiers for using Belarusian during military service. The appeal says: ‘We, Belarusian human rights activists, have to address you in connection with the information in a number of mass media reporting of threats with criminal prosecution and consequent summary punishment by the command of military unit #48694 to be imposed on Private Franak Viachorka. According to the information we have received the threat of punishment was caused by F.Viachorka’s use of one of the state languages of the Republic of Belarus – the Belarusian language.’
27.07.2009 ARCHE magazine denied right to distribution
The editor-in-chief of the ARCHE analytical magazine Valer Bukhakau has received a letter from head of the Belsayuzdruk state press distribution monopoly Ihar Dudzich, saying that the magazine will not be able to be sold through the state-owned network due to ‘overload.’ Mr.Bulhakau says there have not been many changes in the field of distribution of independent media, since the conditions are still very unequal.