News for 25 Aug 2009

Disrespect for Belarusian language not confirmed, says Ministry of Defence

25.08.2009 Disrespect for Belarusian language not confirmed, says Ministry of Defence

Human rights activists Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich have received a reply to their address to the Ministry of Defence, demanding to put an end to illegal persecution of youth opposition leader Franak Viachorka, currently serving in the army, on account of his using Belarusian. The reply denies any summary punishment was used against Franak Viachorka for using Belarusian, saying he was punished for ‘tactless attitude towards a superior.’

Brest activist Ilyin fined BYR 140,000

25.08.2009 Brest activist Ilyin fined BYR 140,000

Brest Leninski Court has fined local opposition activist Mikhail Ilyin BYR 140,000 for organizing a picket in downtown Brest on 17 August, convicting him of disorderly conduct. ‘The evidence provided by the policemen who had arrested the picket participants was inaccurate and false. The judge, in his turn, rejected Ilyin’s motion for additional evidence for the defence. Moreover, the judge ignored information concerning the violence used against the picket participants during the arrest,’ says Brest human rights lawyer Raman Kisliak.

EU ambassadors meet with New Life pastor

25.08.2009 EU ambassadors meet with New Life pastor

On 25 August the French embassy to Minsk hosted a meeting of a number of EU diplomats with representatives of the New Life Protestant church. The meeting initiated by the Swedish ambassador Stefan Ericsson dealt with the possible seizure of the church building. The diplomats said they had received a letter from Minsk city authorities expressing their vision of the issue. According to New Life’s lawyer Siarhei Lukanin, the letter contained false information concerning the amount of compensation offered to the church by the authorities. ‘In fact, the USD 13,000 we were offered would not even pay a construction project. As for the building land, the proposals were too vague to consider,’ says Mr.Lukanin.

Mazyr Court stops civil prosecution of HR activist Pavel Nazdra

25.08.2009 Mazyr Court stops civil prosecution of HR activist Pavel Nazdra

Mazyr District Court stops civil prosecution against an opposition and human rights activist Pavel Nazdra, previously charged with violating Article 28.5 of the Civil Code (late submission of data concerning job change), the BelaPAN news agency reports. The court dismissed the case since Mr.Nazdra had already been convicted of the same offence a year before. The activist says he is likely to face another charge in the near future.

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