Soviet of Republic Unanimously Adopted Amendments to Criminal Code
The Soviet of the Republic once again demonstrated his being only a tool of the presidential power and unanimously adopted the amendments to the Criminal and the Criminal-process Code, introduced by the KGB head on behalf of Lukashenka on 2 December.
As it has been already said, the new amendments provide criminal punishment for “discrediting of the country, passing false information about the situation in Belarus to foreign and international organizations” – from fine and 6-months’ arrest to 5 years of jail.
The specialist in criminal legislation, representative of the expert-legal group the Soviet of the Republic Vasil Tsimoshchanka said he had no principal remarks concerning the article “discrediting of the Republic of Belarus”. The proposed punishment, up to five years of jail, was left as well. Mr. Tsimoshchanka thinks that in the case of adequate and strict following to the norms this draft law won’t lead to human rights violations:
-- I think this norm is close to the legal norms of many European countries and much depends on the practice. The law is quite concrete and I think violations are not likely to happen.
According to the well-known human rights activist and defense lawyer Hary Pahaniaila, similar norms have existed in a number of democratic countries for about 50 years already. However, these are dead norms and nobody raises the question about discrediting of the country.
-- In the conditions of our regime, taking into considerations the traditions of the Soviet totalitarian regime, this norm will be an instrument of struggle against opposition-mindedness, -- stated Hary Pahaniaila. – The practice of its use will be adequate neither to the content of the article, nor to the political situation in the country. We have no independent court and independent investigation. The whole system of power is concentrated in the hands of the head of the state. He will do what he likes.