Kirau district: pressurization of activists willing to take part in election campaign
Natallia Haryst manager of the village hall in the village of Siarheyichy, expressed the intention to take part in the election. However, when her bosses found about it, officers of the local culture department came to the village club with a check-up. They asked her what for she needed the elections and whether she knew that she would have to travel much and spend a lot of time. At the departure they promised that from now on there would be more check-ups at work. After this the woman began to doubt whether she should take part in the elections, because she is afraid to lose her job.
’The district authorities treat with suspicion anyone who decided to run at the elections without their invitation. Natallia Haryst has worked in the village hall for many years. All citizens of Siarheyichy know her well enough and never had any pretensions to her work. However, the trouble started when she just voiced her intention,’ comments Taisiya Kabanchuk, a resident of Babruisk who has a great experience of participation in elections.
In another case, state authorities pressurized the aides of Viachaslau Sheleh in the village of Staupishcha. During the last parliamentary elections, Mr. Sheleh ran at the Asipovichskaya election constituency. The antipathy of the local authorities towards him results from his complaints to the Kirau district executive committee.
’Our village hasn’t been cleaned from snow for ages, and people couldn’t even get to the village shop to buy bread. At first I came to the district executive committee and talk with them. Then I wrote complaints and reproached the DEC Chairperson in incompetence during a personal audience. That’s why Uladzimir Piskizhau, DEC Chairperson, labeled me as an ‘oppositionist’. They cannot pressurize me, as I used to be an entrepreneur for a long time before stopping this kind of activity this year. That’s why they are trying to influence the people who helped me during the parliamentary elections,’ says Viachaslau Sheleh.
Mailwoman Tatsiana Khomskaya helped him during the last elections by collecting signatures in his support. During this election campaign she was included in the election commission to prevent her from helping the ‘oppositionist’. All her colleagues were also warned that they would be fired for assisting Sheleh. Simultaneously, the appropriate state organs started showing interest to the village post office.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections