Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights House Foundation Condemn Persecution of Young Front
Prokuratura respubliki Belarus , Procurator General Petr P. Miklashevich
Ul. Internationalnaia 22
220050 Minsk, Belarus
Fax: +375 172 26 41 66
Administracyja Prezidenta Respubliki Belarus
220016, Minsk, ul. K. Marksa, 38
Zam. glavy administracyji N. Petkevich
Fax: +375 172 26 06 10
Oslo, 10 May 2007
Criminal Persecution of Youth for Political Views
We wish to express our deep concern with the continuous political persecution against activists of Belarusian youth organizations. 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.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights House Foundation are 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 its practice contradicts the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and constitutes a gross violation of human rights, including the right to freedom of association, expression of views and of convictions.
We, the undersigned, consider the charges against Barys Haretski, Dzmitry Khvedaruk, Aleh Korban, Nasta Palazhanka and Aliaksei Yanusheuski politically motivated. The punishment of public activists infringes the right to association guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We call on 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.
We would also like to use this occasion to remind Belarusian authorities that such persecution contradicts severely the Belarus bid to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council later this month.
Berit Lindeman Nina Luhr
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee Human Rights House Foundation
Copies to: The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Stшre
The Chairman of the standing committee of international affairs of the Norwegian Parliament, Olav Akselsen