"Partnerstva" Activists Arrested 100 Days Ago
100 days ago, on February 21, 2006, mass arrests of public activists were held in Minsk. All over the country armed law-enforcers detained activists of the election observation public initiative "Partnerstva". In the apartments of observers searches were held, all office equipment confiscated. Tsimafei Dranchuk, Enira Branitskaya, Mikalay Astrejka and Alyaksandr Shalajka were placed to a pre-trial detention center of the KGB. Observers were charged with violation of the Article 193 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (participation in an unregistered organization, infringing upon rights of citizens). The matter concerns political amendments introduced to the Criminal Code of Belarus in the run-up to the presidential elections. In July a trial over observers is to take place. Today the Chareter'97 press center has received an Address of Tsimafei Dranchuk's family and friend to the public and human rights organizations.
Address of Tsimafei Dranchuk's Family to public and human rights organizations
100 days ago, on February 21, 2006 Tsimafei Dranchuk was detained by special services after a search in his apartment. He was imprisoned and later charged with violation of the article 193 Part 2 for participation in an unregistered organization infringing rights of citizens. Since that time the measure of restraint has not been changed for him. Tsimafei stays in the KGB remand prison, and his parents and sister, despite of applying many times, had not been allowed to meet with him. Lawyers were required to sign a nondisclosure agreement. It has limited the right of international and Belarusian mass media and the general public in receiving information on "Partnerstva" case. At the same time, covering of the case by state-run mass media has a form of psychological war. TV and newspapers charged "Partnerstva" and its activists with a plot aimed at forceful seizure of power in the country (statement of the KGB chairman Stsyapan Sukharenka at a press-conference on March 1, 2006). The governmental newspaper Respublika called activities of "Partnerstva" "a bloody crime against the nation" (E. Rostsikau, report from the press conference).
Today marks 100 days of Tsimafei's arrest. His son was born when he was imprisoned for two months, and Tsimafei hadn't seen him yet. Restriction of freedom in the form of arrest, conditions of imprisonment deteriorating his health, a ban for meetings with family and hindrances for informing the society confirm psychological pressure on Tsimafei.
We, relatives and family of Tsimafei, citizens of Belarus and of other countries, express our protest against Belarusian regime's encroachment on the dignity, rights and health of Tsimafei, which in incompatible with the "United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" (UNCAT) (Article 1, paragraphs 1,2).
By this address we also want to defend the rights of a child, his two-month son.
Recently familiarization with the materials of the investigation has finished. The trial is to take place soon. According to some sources, it is to be a closed court.
WE DEMAND Tsimafei Dranchuk's release from custody.
WE DEMAND an open trial.
WE CALL UPON the public and human rights organizations to support us in this.
Tsimafei Dranchuk's family
Valery Dranchuk, Valyanstina Dranchuk, parents
Yuliya Dranchuk, sister
Volha Antsypovich, wife
Pyotr Shylak (Germany)
Evgenia Bulat (Poland)
Valery Buzhynski (France)
February 21 - May 31, 2006