Russian Human Rights Activist Not Admitted to Belarus
Belarusian authorities refused to accept the well known Russian defender Sergey Kovalyov as a representative of the special PACE commission that investigates the cases of the disappeared Belarusian opposition activists. Christos Purgurides, a deputy of Cypress Parliament, will visit Minsk instead of him.
More a year has passed since the special commission on investigation of disappearances of people in Belarus was established at PACE. This commission of European parliamentarians is headed by the deputy of the Russian Duma and well-known human rights defender Sergey Kovalyov. For all this time the commission tried to receive the permission of the official Minsk to visit Belarus and find how the official investigation of the cases of Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasowski and Zmitser Zavadski was going on.
The commission intended to come in full force, but Belarusian authorities didn’t want to meet with any of its members. Finally, at the last PACE session representatives of the official Belarusian delegation promised to accept Kovalyov’s commission, but executed only a part of their promise. Belarusian authorities didn’t invite to Belarus the head of the mission, Sergey Kovalyov.
In his interview to Radio “Liberty” he said:
“Minsk officially deprived me of this right by a special letter that I have recently received. They haven’t invited any of the commission members, that’s why only one PACE member, reporter of the juridical committee, Mr. Purgurides, will come there. They promise that he will meet with the officials with whom we want to meet.”
According to Sergey Kovalyov, the deputy of the Cypress Parliament Christos Purgurides will arrive in Minsk on 5 November. S. Kovalyov said that the PACE commission asked Belarusian Parliament to arrange the meeting of their representative with the investigators who deal with the cases of the disappeared politicians. PACE representatives also hope to meet with Prosecutor or vice-Prosecutor General of Belarus, but Sergey Kovalyov doesn’t know whether these plans will be fulfilled. According to him, Belarusian side hasn’t yet demonstrated unity of word and action and he doesn’t hope that something will change in Minsk.
By the way, representatives of the “Chamber of Representatives” didn’t manage to answer the question of the Radio “Liberty” correspondent which officials would meet with Christos Purgurides in Minsk and said that this question was being agreed.
It’s worth mentioning that Belarusian authorities have investigated the case of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasowski for more than three years already without any results. They haven’t found the kidnapped Yury Zakharanka and Zmitser Zavadski either.