KGB persecutes Belarusian human rights activists
On Friday, 23 May 2008 three KGB officers suddenly burst into the apartment of Leanid Svetsik, human rights activist from Vitsebsk. They showed to him the ruling of the prosecutor’s office for initiation of criminal proceedings under Article 130.1 of the Criminal Case of the Republic of Belarus (fomentation of national and religious enmity). According to this ruling, Mr. Svetsik is considered a witness in the case of threats to certain citizens from the side of the underground neo-Nazi organization Russian National Unity (RNE).
The KGB officers also brought with them several persons to witness the search which was directed by the senior lieutenant of KGB and lasted 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the search the KGB confiscated exempted from Svetsik his computer and supplies, printed human rights editions including the calendars which were dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the UN foundation.
Then Mr. Svetsik, together with the confiscated items, was brought to Vitsebsk oblast KGB office and was interrogated for more than two hours by D.Sakovich. The interrogation was videotaped. Then Sakovich handed to Svetsik the writ for the next interrogation, appointed on 28 May.
Ales Bialiatski, vide-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) considers such actions of the KGB as a grave human rights violation. ‘The open pressurization of Svetsik by the KGB is doubtlessly connected to his human rights activities and an uncompromised public position, aimed at protection of the Belarusian citizens. In 2007 Leanid Svetsik was fired from the secondary school where he was working as a teacher, before the expiry of his working contract. Now the authorities boldly demonstrated their cynicism by accusing human rights activists of fomentation of national enmity. Leanid Svetsik helped those who had received the RNE threats in applying to the appropriate state organs for protection of their rights. It is not an occasion, that all computer equipment and documents concerning the human rights activities of Leanid Svetsik, were confiscated during the search. It was done on purpose, with the aim to hinder these activities. He participated in preparation of five complaints concerning violations of the citizens’ rights by the Belarusian authorities. These complaints were accepted for consideration by the UN Committee on Human Rights in Geneva.
Bear in mind that often the Belarusian law machinery does not give any legal evaluation to manifestations of extremism by neo-Nazi groups which operate in the country. Instead, they apply moral and psychological pressurization towards human rights defenders and public activists.
We, Belarusian human rights activist, are gravely concerned with the groundless pressurization of Leanid Svetsik. We will watch this incident with a great attention and inform the international communities about all the following actions of the Belarusian authorities against Leanid Svetsik.