Human Rights Center “Viasna” Urges Authorities to Stop Repressions against Youth
Human Rights Center “Viasna” is concerned with the arrests of activists of youth democratic movements. The wave of such arrests all over the country witnesses the aggravation of repressions on the eve of the presidential election in the Republic of Belarus.
Youngsters are kept in inhuman conditions in investigative isolators for their public and political activity, critics of the regime and political graffiti. Persecution of youth acquires mass nature – during the last two months a large number of political cases have been brought against youth.
The Zubr activists Aliaksandr Kazakou and Dzmitry Zubro were detained at night of 28 December 2005 for political graffiti (they drew number 16 to remember people about the day of solidarity with political prisoners, 16th day of every month). The youngsters spent more than two days in the temporary isolator and then were released under written undertakings not to leave Minsk. They are charged with violation of part 2 of article 363 of the Criminal Code (resistance to the police) and can be sentenced to up to 5 years of jail or the same term of personal restraint.
In Zhodzina a criminal case was brought against the activist of youth democratic movement Pavel Krasouski, member of the initiative group of Aliaksandr Milinkevich. The criminal case was initiated for grotesque cartoons of Zhodzina authorities in the bulletin “Nabliudatel”, edited by P. Krasouski. This publication was considered as violation of Article 369 of the Criminal Code (public insult of duty officials).
A criminal case was brought against the BPF activist Dzmitry Kaspiarovich. He was detained at night of 17-18 January 2006 on suspicion in outrage of the state symbols. According to Mr. Kaspiarovich, he really climbed the roof of Minsk City Executive Committee and really tried to tear up the state flag, considering him as “Stalinist’. Outrage of state symbols is punished with personal restraint upon article 370 of the Criminal Code. Besides, the suspects can’t be kept in investigative isolator before the trial. Probably that’s why Kaspiarovich’s actions were first considered as “malignant hooliganism” and then as “hooliganism”. The maximal punishment for it is 3 years of jail. The procurator’s office decided to keep him in the investigative isolator of Minsk. The case investigation was finished and the materials will be soon passed to the court.
A criminal was brought against the activists of “Young Front” Artur Finkevich and Aliaksei Ianusheuski. The police detained them at night of 30 January in Minsk for political graffiti. At present they are kept in temporary isolator. The case was brought upon part 2 of article 339 of the Criminal Case (malignant hooliganism), which provides up to 3 years of jail.
The fact that investigators purposefully consider political graffiti as hooliganism or malignant hooliganism is especially alarming. It allows keeping public activists in investigative isolators. Human Rights Center “Viasna” considers the mentioned arrests as politically motivated persecution and urges representatives of the Belarusian authorities to immediately stop repressions against youth and release all arrested persons.
Human Rights Center “Viasna” applies to representatives of the Belarusian public and urges them to express solidarity with the arrested persons and their families and give to them the necessary support.