Uladzimir Labkovich: ‘All statements by the Belarusian authorities that they share the common European values and human rights standards are false and hypocritical’
On Sunday, 4 January, an assembly of the central council of the unregistered organization Young Front was to have taken place in a private flat in Minsk. The council was attended by organization leaders from all regions of the country and the students of K.Kalinouski educational program Barys Haretski and Iauhen Skrabutan. At about 5 p.m. the flat was assaulted by riot police. As a result 27 youth activists were detained and taken to Minsk Savetski borough police department. There investigators demanded from Zmitser Khvedaruk and Iauhen Skrabutan to confess their membership in the unregistered organization. At night all of the detainees except for Khvedaruk were released from the police department.
The police searched private apartments of a number of activists: Iaraslau Hryshchenia, under-aged Nasta Palazhanka and Aliaksei Ianusheuski.
At about 10 p.m. the police also detained Aleh Korban in his own flat while celebrating his birthday. The flat was searched and the activist was taken away in unknown direction. Today in the morning Khvedaruk’s and Korban’s friends, journalists and human rights activists waited near Minsk Savetski borough court, but the detainees weren’t taken there. It means that a criminal case could be brought against them and they are kept in an investigative isolator. We should remind that earlier a leader of Young Front was sentenced to 1,5 years of jail for activity on behalf of unregistered organization (article #193.1 of the Criminal Code).
A human rights activists and lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich commented on the detentions. ‘Groundless detentions of youth activists when nothing is explained and unsanctioned searches take place and when people are taken away in unknown direction – such actions by workers of the law machinery are far from the process norms that are guaranteed by the Belarusian legislation. According to unconfirmed information at present Mr. Korban is kept in the KGB isolator, the charges are unknown. The fact that Minsk Partyzanski and Savetski borough police departments, the KGB isolator, the investigative isolator in Valadarski Street or temporary isolators give no information and still haven’t confirmed the detention of the youth activists means that not only the detainees’ right to defense, but also the rights of their relatives are violated. We can also mention the recent happening with an activist of the United Civil Party Andrei Dzmitryieu who was taken in unknown direction and Minsk Partyzanski borough police department where he was kept gave no information about it. All these facts lead to the conclusion that such disappearances in our country have already become a practice which really reminds of year 1937.
Such actions of the Belarusian secret services eloquently witness that all statements by the Belarusian authorities that they share the common European values and human rights standards are false and hypocritical. These actions also emphasize that the repressive machines continues its work aimed at suppression of the civil society in Belarus.’