News for January 2010

27.01.2010 Lawyers issue guidelines on appealing violations of election rights

Lawyers of a number of Belarusian NGOs compiled guidelines on the procedure of appealing against violations of the voter’s rights. The edition is available at http://spring96.org/files/book/Izbiratelnyje_prava_grazhdan.pdf and features analysis of the current electoral legislation, procedures of submitting complaints against violations of electoral rights and numerous examples.

27.01.2010 Homel democrats launch civil observation campaign

Homel Coalition of Pro-democratic Forces is going to carry out a campaign of monitoring and observation during the local council election. Over 300 activists are said to be involved in the campaign.

27.01.2010 Orsha town mayor urges to support ‘worthy’ candidates

Heads of enterprises of all forms of property should do their best ‘to support the worthy candidates’, said Mikalai Lisouski, Chairman of Orsha Town Executive Committee, speaking at the latest town council session. Local observers are expecting a list of ‘worthy candidates’ to appear in the near future.

Freedom for Ivan Mikhailau – Stop persecution of conscientious objectors in Belarus

27.01.2010 Freedom for Ivan Mikhailau – Stop persecution of conscientious objectors in Belarus

Open Letter to the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Court evades consideration of Yauhen Skrabets’s complaint

26.01.2010 Court evades consideration of Yauhen Skrabets’s complaint

Brest Leninski Court turned down the complaint lodged by Young Front member Yauhen Skrabets due to the absence of certain documents. The activist claims his conscription into the army was illegal.

Journalist appeals denial of access to information

22.01.2010 Journalist appeals denial of access to information

Anatol Mazhou, journalist of the Barysau-based local independent newspaper Borisovskie novosti, lodged complaint with the local prosecutor’s office after he was denied access to information by three state agencies within one day on 19 January.

Teacher quits opposition party due to pressure by authorities

22.01.2010 Teacher quits opposition party due to pressure by authorities

Syarhei Klimyanok, a teacher from Vileika, took a decision to withdraw from the United Civil Party.

As the website ucpb.org reminds, Taisia Danilevich, the head of the Education Department of the Minsk region executive committee, demanded the teacher to leave the party. In case UCP member Syarhei Klimyanok refuses to obey, the school staff will face problems. As a result, the oppositionist had to quit the party.

Poland’s Embassy concerned over detention of Union of Poles activists

22.01.2010 Poland’s Embassy concerned over detention of Union of Poles activists

The Embassy of Poland in Minsk expresses its concern over the mass detention of activists of the unofficial Union of Poles in Belarus.

“The Embassy is concerned over the situation with the unofficial Union of Poles in Belarus and escalation of the conflict, initiated by the authorized Union of Poles led by Iosif Luchnik. All arrangements on status quo of the organization are in question now,” BelaPAN quotes the statement of the Polish diplomatic mission in Minsk.

21.01.2010 Parents of Belarusian-speaking schoolboy struggle for their son’s language rights

Two Zhodzina civil activists Aliaksei and Sviatlana Lapitskis continue to struggle for their son’s Belarusian-language education at the local school, after he was for the second time within 4 years ordered to be educated in Russian due to ‘budget deficiency’. They lodged a complaint with the local authorities claiming they failed to guarantee Belarusian-language education of their son Yanka, RFE/RL reports.

Mass arrests of activists of Union of Poles in Belarus

21.01.2010 Mass arrests of activists of Union of Poles in Belarus

The people coming to support Tereza Sobal, the head of the Polish House in Ivyanets, and not to allow the authorities to take away the building are being detained and arrested.

The website charter97.org learnt from Andrzej Poczobut, a famous journalist, activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, unrecognized by the authorities. According to him, more than 100 activists of the Union of Poles are going to visit Ivyanets (the Minsk region) today. Road traffic police began to stop their cars, check IDs and search vehicles.

Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalist Andrzej Poczobut receives threats

21.01.2010 Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalist Andrzej Poczobut receives threats

Andrzej Poczobut, a famous journalist, activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, unrecognized by the Belarusian authorities, received a telephone call from an unknown man on January20.

As Radio Racyja reports, the man threatened Andrzej Poczobut and his family if he didn’t stop his public activity and leave the Polish House in Ivyanets.

New Life Church to pay Br260-million fine

21.01.2010 New Life Church to pay Br260-million fine

The Natural Resources and Environment Committee obliged the persecuted church to pay the fine within two months.

Syarhei Lukanin, a New Life’s lawyer, told Radio Svaboda the Minsk Natural Resources and Environment Committee offered him to sign a protocol, under which the church must pay a Br260-million fine.

20.01.2010 Human Rights Watch declares Autukhovich, Asipenka and Liavonau prisoners of conscience

In its annual report, the New-York-based Human Rights Watch international organizations declared Mikalai Autukhovich, Uladzimer Asipenka, Yury Liavonau and Artsiom Dubski prisoners of conscience. The report highlights an increasing number of attacks against human rights activists and NGOs across the world in 2009.

Brest court turns down claim by local activist

20.01.2010 Brest court turns down claim by local activist

Brest Leninski Court turned down a complaint lodged by Uladzimir Andrashchuk against a city executive committee official Viachaslau Khafizau, following a ban to hold a demonstration on the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2009, European Radio for Belarus reports.

Autukhovich’s trial to be open

20.01.2010 Autukhovich’s trial to be open

The consideration of Mikalai Autukhovich’s case will be open to the public, the Interfax news agency reports quoting Belarusian Prosecutor General Ryhor Vasilevich. ‘The trial is to commence in the near future – early February,’ said the official.

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