Participants of Assembly of NGOs from Belarus, Maldova and Ukraine for conflict resolution and prevention address the Belarusian authorities with demand to stop criminal persecution of Viktar Ivashkevich and other journalists.
of participants of the Assembly of NGOs of Belarus, Maldova and Ukraine for conflict resolution and prevention
Kishinev, 5-8 September 2002
We, participants of the Assembly, express our grave concern about persecution of independent press in Belarus.
On 11 September 2002 Pershamaiski borough court of Minsk will start hearing of Viktar Ivashkevich's criminal case. Ivashkevich, editor-in-chief of newspaper Rabochy, is charged with attempted slander against the president of the Republic of Belarus under Art. 367 part 2 of the Criminal Code. Viktar Ivashkevich faces imprisonment for up to 5 years.
The article, published in Rabochy, had been taken from an open source and contained information about possible facts of corruption in the President's Office and state arms trade. We believe, the sentence to Pahonia editor Mikola Markevich and journalist Paval Mazheika was groundlessly severe. That is why we, participants of the Assembly, express our great concern about the criminal persecution of journalists, practiced in Belarus, which also means violation of the right to search for and spread information.
We call on the Belarusian authorities to protect the principles of democracy and human rights, fixed by international documents, also on UN level.
We request to stop persecution of journalists, to drop criminal charges against Viktar Ivashkevich, editor of newspaper Rabochy.
8 September 2002