HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER "VIASNA" PROTESTS AGAINST ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS OF ORGANIZERS AND PARTICIPANTS OF PEOPLE’S MARCH “FOR A BETTER LIFE!”
Statement of the Council of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"
in conjunction with arrests and detentions of People’s March organizers and participants.
The Belarusian authorities limit and violate the rights of citizens for peaceful meetings, guaranteed by the Constitution and the international acts in the sphere of human rights, ratified by the Republic of Belarus.
Detentions and arrests of organizers of the social action of protest People’s March “For a Better Life!”, which took place on 12 March 2003, testify that the authorities are afraid of mass displays of social protest.
Organizers of the People’s March “For a Better Life!” were sentenced to maximal penalties. Savetski borough court judges Aksana Relava and Ruslan Kazadayew sentenced Ludmila Hraznova (Charter’97 human rights coordinator), Andrei Sannikaw (Charter’97 international coordinator), Zmitser Bandarenka (Charter’97 coordinator) and Leanid Malakhaw (co-chair if “Private Property” organization) to 15 days of jail each.
Well-know people found themselves in hard conditions of detention prison. The sentence to Ludmila Hraznova, who is a single mother, seems especially rigorous. Her under age daughter will be left without mother’s care for 15 days.
The persecution of the action participants did not stop with arrests of its organizers. On 17 March Savetski borough court of Minsk tried Professor Yury Khadyka, vice-chairperson of Belarusian Popular Front Party. Khadyka was detained in the morning of 17 March near his house. The court sent the police report of the “offend” for review.
The authorities, exploiting fear, attempt to prevent mass activity of citizens on the eve of the actions, devoted to 25 March – 85th anniversary of declaration of the Belarusian People’s Republic and other actions of the opposition.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" states, that the Belarusian authorities continue to violate the basic civic and political rights of citizens.
Human Rights Center "Viasna" expresses support to the arrested organizers of the March “For a Better Life!” and demands their immediate release.
17 March 2003