News for December 2009

28.12.2009 Three Polish priests to be deported from Belarus

Three Polish Catholic priests will have to leave Belarus by the end of the year, Polskie Radio reports, quoting the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. The official reason for the deportation is their use of the Polish language during masses.

Expelled student appeals decision

28.12.2009 Expelled student appeals decision

The Young Front’s press-secretary Tatsiana Shaputska, expelled from Belarusian State University, following her participation in the Eastern Partnership’s Civil Society Forum, lodged a complaint with the Minister of Information.

Prosecution for charitable actions in Brest suspended

28.12.2009 Prosecution for charitable actions in Brest suspended

Brest Leninski Court suspended civil prosecution of two local activists Sviatlana Novikava and Aliaksandr Kazliankou, charged with violating rally procedures while arranging a charitable action of doling food to low-income persons in the city center. The activists say they are going to continue arranging similar charitable acts in Brest.

Russian ecologist Ozherovsky conviction is illegal, says Ministry of Information

28.12.2009 Russian ecologist Ozherovsky conviction is illegal, says Ministry of Information

The Belarusian Ministry of Information orders to suspend civil prosecution of Russian ecologist Andrei Ozherovsky, urging the investigation to return the seized printed materials, criticizing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus, the BelaPAN news agency reports.

Persecution of “Borisovskiye novosti” goes on

28.12.2009 Persecution of “Borisovskiye novosti” goes on

While the editorial office is fighting for return of the licence for retail trade, regional authorities are creating bureaucratic hurdles for enterprises that want to sell the independent newspaper.

As the press-service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists was told by the editor-in-chief of “Borisovskiye novosti” Anatol Bukas, he concluded a realization agreement with a large new supermarket “Almi”.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

24.12.2009 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May Christmas Day bring good spirits, well-being, harmony, peace and hopes for new miracles! May the year of 2010 be to you a year rich in health, happiness, understanding and friendly support! Enjoy your holidays!

UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by Homel opposition activists

24.12.2009 UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by Homel opposition activists

The UN Human Rights Committee has registered the individual complaint by Homel opposition activists Aliaksandr Protska and Andrei Tolchyn, the BelaPAN news agency reports. The complaint has also been sent to the Belarusian government for comments.

LGBT activists fined

24.12.2009 LGBT activists fined

On 23 December Judge Aksana Reliava of Minsk Savetski Court considered the civil cases of two LGBT activists Siarhei Androsenka and Siarhei Pradzed charged with holding an unauthorized picket outside the Iranian embassy on 16 December. Judge Reliava found them guilty and fined the activists BYR 825,000 and 350,000 respectively. Another participant of the picket was fined BYR 105,000 on 17 December.

Court takes side of fired trade union leader

23.12.2009 Court takes side of fired trade union leader

The Belarusian Congress of Pro-Democratic Trade Unions (BCPDTD) succeeds in protecting one of its members and leader of Lukoml GRES Power Plant independent trade union leader Aliaksei Habryel, fired by the employer for his civil activity on 30 September.

23.12.2009 Court denies restoration of rights to Vitsebsk human rights activists

Alena Papkova, Deputy Chair of Vitsebsk Kastrychnitski Court, turned down a complaint by a number of local human rights activists striving for the restoration of their civil rights. On 25 November 2009 a group of Vitsebsk human rights activists submitted an application for holding a picket on the International Human Rights Day, 10 December.

OSCE PA concerned over media freedom in Belarus, Swedish MP says

23.12.2009 OSCE PA concerned over media freedom in Belarus, Swedish MP says

The Working Group on Belarus at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is concerned over the situation regarding freedom of the media and organizations, as well as a lack of opportunities for political parties to get fully involved in the country's political life, Swedish MP Cecilia Wigstrom told reporters in Minsk on December 22.

Ms. Wigstrom, a member of the working group, is leading a delegation of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly that arrived in Belarus on a three-day visit on Sunday.

Property of oppositionist distrained for rally on Independence Day

23.12.2009 Property of oppositionist distrained for rally on Independence Day

On December 22 the leader of Haradok branch of the Belarusian Popular Front party Leanid Autukhou was visited by and officer of the court and two attesting witnesses.

They informed that they were going to distrain Autukhou’s property as the oppositionist failed to pay a fine to the court for organizing an allegedly unsanctioned rally, Radio Svaboda informs.

Authorities oppose UN’s consideration of communication by Zhuk’s mother

22.12.2009 Authorities oppose UN’s consideration of communication by Zhuk’s mother

According to human rights activist Raman Kisliak, the Belarusian government appeals against the admissibility of communication filed by mother of death convict Andrei Zhuk, claiming that the facts mentioned are false, namely he allegedly failed to exhaust all domestic remedies.

Court fails to consider complaint by Homel human rights activists

22.12.2009 Court fails to consider complaint by Homel human rights activists

On 21 December Judge Siarhei Shytsikau of Homel Tsentralny Court ruled not to consider appeal filed by local human rights activists Anatol Paplauny and Leanid Sudalenka against decision #299 by Homel city authorities, denying a right to hold a picket on the International Human Rights Day, 10 December.

Snow Maidens attempt to file petition with Parliament

22.12.2009 Snow Maidens attempt to file petition with Parliament

A number of human rights activists wearing the costumes of Snow Maidens and New Year hares have tried to file a petition with the Belarusian Parliament urging the officials to abolish Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code. The performance was aimed at drawing attention to criminal prosecution for illegal NGO membership after the Parliament members went into recess without even considering the issue, despite numerous statements on possible annulment of the infamous Article.

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