Satirical Cartoon Creator to Ask for Asylum in Estonia

2007 2007-03-29T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Andrei Abozau, member of “Multclub” group that in 2005 created satirical cartoons featuring Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenka and other top government officials, will apply to the Estonian authorities for asylum, BelaPAN reports.

Andrei Abozau was an administrator of the Tretsi Shliakh (The Third Path) group`s web site. He fled Belarus when Minsk city prosecutor`s office instituted criminal proceedings over the cartoons in August 2005.

Last week Abozau was arrested in Tver, Russia, on a train traveling from Moscow to Tallinn, Estonia. The Belarusian national had been put on the Russian police wanted list at the request of the Belarusian investigators.

Tver court however ruled that
Andrei Abozau would not be extradited to Belarus because the Russian Criminal Code does not provide for criminal responsibility for defamation of the President.

Besides that, Abozau states, Russia recognized the case against Multclub politically-motivated in 2005.

On March 26 the Belarusian national was brought to the Estonian border under convoy.

The prosecutor`s office launched the criminal case against the group under Article 367, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years for the defamation of the president.

The Committee for State Security (KGB) then raided the apartments of
Andrei Abozau, and project coordinator Pavel Marozau, seizing 12 pieces of computer equipment.

u and another member of the group, Aleh Minich, fled the country, reports BelaPAN.