Press-secretary of Belarusian Helsinki Committee Comments on Amendments to Criminal Code
Here’s the interview of RFE/RL with Dzmitry Markusheuski, press-secretary of Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
-- What do you think, how much will the role of Belarusian Helsinki Committee increase when your colleagues become outlaws?
-- The changes that are introduced into the legislation are really terrible, but I don’t think they will stop the work of selfless human rights activists who continue their work for the benefit of human rights – these are the liquidated Human Rights Center Viasna and other organizations. I think these changes are mainly introduced as preventive. I doubt the possibility to imprison human rights activists for so-called “discrediting of the Republic of Belarus on the international arena” – their main task is to tell the truth to people in Belarus and abroad so that it would be possible to do something inside the country. When duty officials compare country to a family and conclude it can’t be criticized because people don’t wash dirty linen in public – I think it’s wrong, because one can’t combat domestic violence without speaking about it in public.
-- So, you think this article won’t be used against human rights activists?
-- BHC and other human rights organizations deliver their information to citizens and power organs inside the country and abroad. For instance, what concerns elections, BHC prepares comprehensive reports with concrete facts and first of all sends it to the Central Election Commission, the authorities, court and procurator’s office. None of these facts were proved to be false. In the case we wrote false we could have been punished for it long ago. New changes give more possibilities to punish human rights activists on legal basis.
-- The last question: this week we ask our audience which events of this year they consider the most important. What event was the most important for you?
-- For me it was very important that the democratic forces followed the good example and also united by holding the Congress of Democratic Forces.