Aleh HULAK: It is amazing how cynical the authorities are
- Everything is calm in the country now, there are no manifestations of extremism. So there are no justified reasons for introducing tough restrictions on public activity. There are even no reason why these amendment should be adopted so fast. But the authorities do not even try to conceal it that the changes to the Criminal Code are introduced because of the forthcoming presidential elections and aim to "maintain control of the situation".
According to the changes, the Criminal Code is amended to include Article 193-1 "Illegal activity of public associations, foundations or involvement with such activity". The articles says that if an organization has been liquidated or suspended, participation in such organization is punished with a fine or arrest of two years.
Interestingly, this article in contained the Code Chapter "Crimes against Rights and Liberties of the Citizen". It turns out that the title contradicts the chapter contents – the amendments (if adopted) directly limit the constitutional rights of the citizens.
Yet another "know-how" of the Belarusian regime is "discrediting the Republic of Belarus". In fact, this article seeks to limit the rights and possibility to monitor the situation in the country, and reveal the outcome of the monitoring to the Belarusian and international community.
Obviously, preparation for falsifications during the coming elections is underway, and everything is being done to prevent politicians and human rights activists from telling the people the truth about what is happening. All of these actions aim to intimidate the people. - We, human rights activists, adopted a statement. We signed it as private individuals, because even now not all of us can work legally. We demand that the president recall this bill and the Parliament not adopt it in case it is not recalled. Also (as long as this is still possible) we ask the international community for support.