Alternative civilian service: criminal persecution instead of law

2010 2010-02-19T17:46:08+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Despite the fact that drafting of the law on alternative service has been initiated by President Lukashenka, officers of military enlistment offices continue the drafting of the people whom they consider as evading from military service.

In particular, draftee Yauhen Yakavenka was fined 175 000 rubles in Homel for having not come to the ‘measures of drafting’ without a good excuse. The fact that he had filed several applications for being assigned to alternative civilian service was ignored.

On 1 February the Minsk district court found Ivan Mikhailau guilty in evasion from military service and sentenced him to three months of arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Mikhailau insisted on performing alternative civilian service as his religious convictions prohibited him to take arms. On 15 December he was detained and placed to the pre-trial prison in Zhodzina.

At the end of 2009, Zmitser Smyk was fined in Homel for evasion from military service. He also applied for performing alternative civilian service.

A criminal case for evasion from military service can also be instigated against Piatro Ruzau, a Young Front activist from Baranavichy.

According to, last year a criminal case was brought against the activist and he was twice fined for haven’t come to the medical examination at the military enlistment office. He couldn’t come there because he was abroad at that time. The procuracy dropped the criminal case against Ruzau after he came to the military enlistment office and presented the documents confirming that he studied at Poznan University.

However, on 18 February the activist’s mother received a telephone call from an investigator of the Baranavichy city police department. The investigator stated that a criminal case for evasion from the measures of drafting. 

However, this time the activist is accused not only in evasion from military service, but also in forging documents (the military enlistment office states that the certificate issued by Poznan University is forged). The investigator demanded the immediate return of Mr. Ruzau to Belarus for giving testimonies and threatened that he could be deported from Poland according to the appropriate agreements between the countries.