Elections are coming near, the pressure on civil society representatives increases
With nearing of the elections the pressurization of participation of the electoral campaign and democratic activists from the side of law machinery and tax inspections increases.
The authorities pressurize democrats all over the country, using different pretexts for it. In particular, in Pukhavichy they fined the local activist Siarhei Abrazouski almost 2 million rubles for organization of an unauthorized meeting on 27 June against the construction of a pesticide plant near the settlement of Druzhny.
The members of the BPF Party Siarhei Antusevich and Vadzim Saranchukou received telephone calls from KGB officers. The activists were offered to come to the local KGB department. Formally, they are called there for giving explanations concerning 4 July blast in Minsk. The activists believe that they are persecuted for participation in the electoral campaign: both of them have already registered their initiative groups. A similar call was received by Siarhei Malchyk, head of Hrodna oblast BPF branch.
Taisiya Kabanchuk, who intends to run on the list of the European Belarus’ list, is threatened with firing from the position of storekeeper at the local poultry factory.
Cases of political persecution
One day in Hrodna the human rights activist Viktar Sazonau was twice detained and searched at the railway station. He did not have anything prohibited with him. He explains the detentions with persecution for his human rights activities and active participation in the electoral campaign. Besides, Mr. Sazonau was summonsed to the local KGB department for interrogation in connection with the blast which had taken place in Minsk in the morning of 4 July. For the same reason KGB summonsed the youth activist, member of the Young Front and the United Civil Party Aleh Korban, and activist of Mahiliou Young Front branch Rastsislau Pankratau.
The pressurization on the members of the initiative group of the member of the resident of Hlubokaye, member of the BPF Party Yaraslau Bernikovich, continues. Two members of his initiative group were summonsed to the police for fingerprinting and giving the samples of their saliva. In Ushachy the police started detaining collectors of signatures in support of Bernikovich’s candidacy.
Financial police holds 1st place
The financial organs are the most active ones in persecuting the opposition. Soon after human rights activists announced their intention to organize monitoring of the election, they and members of their families started to be summonsed to tax inspections.
The committee of financial investigations of Mahiliou oblast demands that the oppositionists who intend to run at the parliamentary election urgently present income declarations. It concerns about ten democratic activists including the head of the donors’ NGO Drop of Life Ihar Kavalenka and the head of Mahiliou oblast organization of the United Civil Party Uladzimir Shantsau.
The head of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka faces the third wave of financial check-ups already. At first he was disturbed by the tax inspection and the Department of financial investigations of the State Control Committee. Now it’s the tax inspection of Tsentralny district of Minsk again.
The most interesting fact is that this time the tax inspectors pay interest to the financial activities of the Euro-Atlantic association, which Liabedzka used to head and which was liquidated by the Ministry of Justice about ten years ago. According to the UCP leader, participants of the electoral process waste much time on collection of the appropriate documents and visits to the financial organs, the time which could be spent on direct work with the electorate. ‘Secondly, it is a means of psychological influence. It does not affect me, but it makes nervous some of those running for the first time and the members of their families,’ Liabedzka said.
Violations are procuracy’s concern
As said by its secretary Mikalai Lazavik, the Central Electoral Committee treats persecution of participants of the electoral campaign negatively. ‘However, reading the websites of some politicians I see that often they make a mountain out of a molehill. On the other hand, if politically neutral nominees state about such fact we get indignant and, in the case were receive such complaints, we pass them to procuracy for taking the adequate legal measures.’