Statement of HRC Viasna – Criminal Persecution for Political Views Returns Belarus to Times of Soviet Totalitarianism
On 8 May 2007 the judge of Savetski court of Minsk A.Aniskevich ruled to appoint the trial on the criminal case against Barys Haretski, Dzmitry Khvedaruk, Aleh Korban, Nasta Palazhanka and Aliaksei Yanusheuski to 30 May 2007. All five activists are charged under article 193.1 of the Criminal Code (organization of or participation in activity of a religious, public organization or fund which didn’t undergo state organization) and can be imprisoned for up to 2 years.
Human Rights Center Viasna is of the opinion that the amendment of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus with article 193.1 which provides criminal punishment for membership in unregistered organization and the practice of its use contradict to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and provisions of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is an example of gross violation of human rights, the right to freedom of association, expression of views and convictions.
Human Rights Center Viasna considers the persecution of Barys Haretski, Dzmitry Khvedaruk, Aleh Korban, Nasta Palazhanka and Aliaksei Yanusheuski as politically motivated and again insistently calls the Belarusian authorities to stop criminal persecution of these activists, release other political prisoners from prisons and put the criminal legislation in conformity with the international human rights norms.
Minsk, 8 May 2007