Homel: District commission bans campaigning against pro-governmental opponents

2008 2008-09-23T14:14:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On September 22nd chair of Homel-Savetskaya district # 34 Mikalai Malyi did not let a group of citizens to Festyvalny conference room which was appointed as a place for election events. During the planned event the organizers planned to campaign against the official candidate Larysa Kuzniatsova. The event organizer Uladzinmir Katsora and speaker Alexander Milinkevich had to conduct the meeting in the open air.


Such an event is a precedent in this year’s election. The initiative to campaign against a candidate was suggested by voters. Katsora informed the district commission about the intention to hold a meeting of citizens with Milinkevich. On September 19th the commission’s chair Mikalai Malyi wrote a letter to Katsora explaining Katsora was not a candidate or a candidate’s agent, i.e. he had not right to claim Festivalny conference room.  Uladzimir Katsora says, the law allows anyone to campaign against a candidate:


-- In my opinion it is not Malyi’s business to decide if to let us to the conference room or not. I believe the decision was made not in the district commission., but higher in the oblast executive committee. This is a political decision.


In the morning of September 22nd the police warned Uladzimir Katsora about administrative responsibility.  He expects to receive report about administrative offence after September 28th.   


About 50 people came to listen to agitation against the official candidate. There was a police officer who took pictures of the faces of the present people. Homel police use such pictures for charges with participation in unsanctioned events.


Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections