SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN BELARUS STRONGLY CONDEMNS SENTENCING OF BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS
7 June 2005
/The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Adrian Severin, issued the
following statement today in Geneva:/
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus,
Adrian Severin, expresses deep concern and strong condemnation over the
sentencing of Paval Sevyarynets, one of the leaders of the youth wing of
the Belarusian Popular Front, and Mikola Statkevich, a leader of the
Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada).
Paval Sevyarynets and Mikola Statkevich were charged under Article 342
of the Criminal Code with organizing peaceful mass protests against what
they called the rigged results of the last parliamentary elections and
referendum in 2004, and sentenced to three years of restricted freedom.
However, due to the Amnesty Law on the occasion of the sixtieth
Anniversary of Victory in the Second World War, the sentence has been
reduced to two years.
The Special Rapporteur also expresses his deep concern for the other
Belarusian political prisoners, namely Alyaxandr Vasil'eu, Valery
Levaneuski, Mikhail Marynich, Andrei Klinau and Syarhei Skrabets, and
appeals to the Government of Belarus to take all necessary steps to
secure their right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance
with fundamental principles as set forth in article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and reiterated in article 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These articles
provide that, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers".