The practice of using drafts into the army as a means of struggle against opponents is getting widespread in Belarus
Statement of the Human Rights Center Viasna, 9 January 2009
The practice of using the army for isolation and pressurization of civil and political activist is revived in Belarus.
First of all, such pressurization is used towards youth activist, the majority of who were expelled from the Belarusian high schools because of their civil and political activities and therefore lost the right to determent from army service. The eloquent cases of such ‘drafting’, organized by secret services, are the cases of the members of the BPF Party Vital Karatysh, Zmitser Zhaleznichenka, the former head of the BPF Youth (youth wing of the BPF Party) Ales Kalita, the present head of the BPF Youth Franak Viachorka, the activists of the Young Front Zmitser Fedaruk and Ivan Shyla, an activist of the European Belarus Pavel Kuryianovich, the youth activists Pavel Batuyeu, Fiodar Charankou, Ales Krutkin, Artsiom Zabaryn and Uladzimir Siarheyeu (one of the 14 defendants in the ‘case of 14’) and the students who learn abroad, on Kalinouski program in Poland or at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The main facts that lets us state that these drafts are organized by the secret services are:
1) the youth activists are usually detained by persons in civvies for being guarded to military enlistment offices;
2) earlier medical conclusions, according to which some of them were found unfit for army service in peaceful time, are reviewed;
3) representatives of secret services actively interfere with the events related to drafting of the abovementioned persons into the army.
It is very revolting that earlier medical conclusions are changed. That’s why the Human Rights Center Viasna states that there are no reasons to trust in the accuracy and reliability in the medical conclusions that are made under the pressure of the secret services.
Human Rights Center Viasna considers such actions of secret services towards youth activists as purposeful harassment and the use of the army for struggle against other-mindedness in the country.
Human Rights Center Viasna calls on the medics who issue the medical conclusions on fitness for army services to abide by the law, not to subdue to the unlawful pressurization of the secret services and to reflect the real state of health of the draftees in the documents.
We demand that that the officers of military enlistment offices abide by the legal requirements while drafting persons to army service.
We remind the Belarusian authorities that such ‘legal’ attempts to neutralize civil and political activists do not favor the improvement of the situation of human rights in the country and are a form of pressurization of political opponents.