UN Human Rights Committee registers first complaint on 2010 pre-election violations
The UN Human Rights Committee has registered an individual complaint by Homel human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka against an arbitrary detention by the Belarusian border troops ahead of the 2010 presidential election.
The human rights defender was detained while returning from Lithuania. As a result, the customs officials seized ten copies of election observation guidelines referring to counter-extremism legislation. Having exhausted all the national levels of remedy, Mr. Sudalenka submitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee.
In his complaint, the human rights defender stresses the contradiction of the Belarusian anti-extremism legislation to the country’s international obligations. He also believes counter-extremism activities should not restrict freedom of information.
“The thing is that back in 2008 the KGB, the Interior Ministry, the prosecuting authorities, the border troops and the customs department enforced a joint instruction, which required confiscation of every information products at the Belarusian border. Even if I had been transporting fiction, I would not have escaped confiscation, as the customs officials have the right to seize any printed materials, irrespective of their content”, says Leanid Sudalenka.