News for 2 Dec 2009

Young Belarus activists detained in Minsk

02.12.2009 Young Belarus activists detained in Minsk

Four Young Belarus activists – Yahor Babrou, Andrei Kuzminski, Nastassia Mashchava and Pavel Prakapovich – have been arrested in Minsk today as they were holding an unauthorized rally, the organization’s press-service reports. The activist are currently at a local police department.

Valiantsin Stefanovich: ‘No referendum is needed for the abolition of the death penalty, the legislation needs to be amended instead’

02.12.2009 Valiantsin Stefanovich: ‘No referendum is needed for the abolition of the death penalty, the legislation needs to be amended instead’

‘Legally, no referendum is needed for the abolition of the death penalty,’ says human rights activist and Viasna’s lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich, commenting President Lukashenka’s recent statement in an interview with the La Stampa newspaper. Lukashenka said that the use of the death penalty is based on the results of the 1996 referendum and that, ‘under the Constitution, only another referendum can reverse its results.’

Poet Andrei Khadanovich: ‘The death penalty has always been a means of restraint and intimidation’

02.12.2009 Poet Andrei Khadanovich: ‘The death penalty has always been a means of restraint and intimidation’

Andrei Khadanovich, famous Belarusian poet, translator and head of the Belarusian PEN-Center, has joined the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus.

Human rights activists submit alternative report to UN

02.12.2009 Human rights activists submit alternative report to UN

A number of key Belarusian human rights NGOs, including the Human Rights Center Viasna, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Belarusian Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, have compiled an alternative report on human rights in Belarus to be considered by the UN Human Rights Council.

Article 193-1: 4 years of illegal activity
Jean-Louis Laurens: ‘The abolition of the death penalty requires the political will of the country’s leaders’

02.12.2009 Jean-Louis Laurens: ‘The abolition of the death penalty requires the political will of the country’s leaders’

‘Of course, the Special Guest status is very important, but its absence is not an obstacle to the cooperation between the Council of Europe and Belarus in various fields,’ said Jean-Louis Laurens, Council of Europe's Director General of Democracy and Political Affairs, during his visit to Minsk, six months after PACE named the abolition of or the declaration of a moratorium on the death penalty as the key condition for the restoration of the country’s Special Guest status in the Council of Europe.

Revocation of Article 193-1 still open-ended

02.12.2009 Revocation of Article 193-1 still open-ended

Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code may be decriminalized in the near future, says Mr. Huminski, head of the Standing Commission for National Security of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, in reply to a complaint by Brest human rights lawyer Uladzimir Malei.

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