Human Rights Center Viasna Protests against Systematic Use of Criminal Persecution by Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s Regime as Means of Struggle against Political Opponents and Opposition-minded Persons
Human Rights Center Viasna
Minsk, 18 April 2006
Human Rights Center Viasna protests against the systematic use of criminal persecution by Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s regime as a means of struggle against political opponents and opposition-minded persons. We have to conclude that the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus has become a tool of political repressions.
At present 10 persons are kept in custody for political reasons, about 20 are suspects and accused on criminal cases that were brought during the presidential campaign or after it. Among the arrested there is the ex-candidate to the presidential position of the Republic of Belarus Aliaksandr Kazulin, the activist of A.Kazulin’s electoral headquarters Iury Radzivil, the activists of the electoral headquarters of the ex-candidate to the presidential position Aliaksandr Milinkevich Siarhei Liashkevich and Mikalai Razumau, activists of the civil initiative Partnership Mikalai Astreika, Enira Branitskaia, Tsimafei Dranchuk and Aliaksandr Shalaika, the activist of Zubr Mikita Sasim and the youth activist Artur Finkevich.
The fate of the latter, youth activist Artur Finkevich, is a matter of especial concern for Human Rights Center Viasna. Mr Finkevich has been kept in the investigative isolator of Minsk since 30 January 2006. He was detained by the police for making political graffiti in Minsk. He is accused of violation of two articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus - part 2 of article 339 (malignant hooliganism) and part 3 of article 218 (purposeful destruction or defilement of property). In the case he is found guilty of violation of the latter article, he can be sentenced to 7-12 years of jail. In addition, the article doesn’t provide for conditional imprisonment at all. The materials of the criminal case have been already passed to court. The trial will take place within a month’s period. We consider that the arrest of Artur Finkevich has obvious political motivation and is connected to his public and political activity.
Taking into consideration the gravity of the charges given to activists of public, political and youth movements, Human Rights Center Viasna urges:
- citizens of Belarus - to express solidarity with political prisoners;
- representatives of NGOs and political parties of Belarus - to use all possible mechanisms to prevent the imprisonment of Belarusian citizens on political accusations;
- representatives of the international community - to use all possible mechanisms of international pressure on the Belarusian regime with the aim to prevent the politically motivated lynching of the regime’s opponents in Belarus.