OMCT condemns arrest of human rights defender Aleh Volchak

2012 2012-01-31T18:03:54+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Urgent appeal - New information

BLR 001 / 0112 / OBS 014.1

Sentencing / Arbitrary detention


January 31, 2012


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the

International  Federation  for  Human  Rights  (FIDH)  and  the  World  Organisation  Against

Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the

following situation in the following situation in Belarus.


New information:


The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the sentencing to four days of

administrative  detention  of  Mr.  Aleh  Volchek,  Head  of  “Legal  Aid  to  the  Population”,  an

organisation  that  provided  legal  assistance  and  was  liquidated  in  2003.  The  organisation

recently published a report about the trial of Mr. Ales Bialiatski, President of HRC Viasna

and FIDH Vice-President. Mr. Volchek's recent work focused notably on political prisoners.


According  to  the  information  received,  on  January  30,  2012,  Mr.  Aleh  Volchek  was

sentenced  by  Judge  Yakunchykhin  of  the  Central  District  Court  of  Minsk  to  four  days  of

administrative detention for allegedly using foul language in the street, under Article 17.1 of

the Code of Administrative Offences on “petty hooliganism”. Mr. Aleh Volchek, who denied

having used such language, was found guilty following the testimony of the Deputy Head of

the Central District Police Department Mr. Anton Shakhlai. 


During the weekend, he was held in custody in the Delinquents’ Isolation Centre in Akrestin



The Observatory strongly denounces the sentencing of Mr. Aleh Volchek, which seems to

merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and calls for his immediate release.


Background information:


On January 27, 2012, at around 3:35 pm, Mr. Aleh Volchek was arrested by the police in the

street  in  Minsk,  not  far  from  the  boulevard  Shevchenko,  in  relation  to  charges  of  “petty

hooliganism”  under  Article  17.1  of  the  Administrative  Code,  and  detained  in  Maskouski

District Police Department of Minsk. The exact reasons of his detention were not known at

the time.


Actions requested:


The Observatory urges the authorities of Belarus to:


i.  Guarantee  in  all  circumstances  the  physical  and  psychological  integrity  of  Mr.

Aleh Volchek, as well as of all human rights defenders in Belarus;


ii.  Release Mr. Aleh Volchek immediately and unconditionally since his detention is



iii.  Put an end to all forms of harassment against him, including at the judicial level,

and more generally against all human rights defenders in the country;


iv.  Comply  with  all  the  provisions  of  the  United  Nations  Declaration  on  Human

Rights Defenders, in particular with:



- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with

others,  to  promote  and  to  strive  for  the  protection  and  realization  of  human  rights  and

fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, 

- its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the

protection  by  the  competent  authorities  of  everyone,  individually  and  in  association  with

others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination,

pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of

the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;


v.  More  generally,  ensure  in  all  circumstances  the  respect  for  human  rights  and

fundamental freedoms in  accordance  with  the Universal Declaration  of Human

Rights  and  with international  and  regional  human  rights  instruments  ratified  by





•  President Alexander Lukashenko, ul .Karla Marksa, 38, 220016 Minsk, Belarus, Fax: +

375 172 26 06 10 or + 375 172 22 38 72

•  Administration of the President of Belarus, Head of the Administration of the President of

Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Makei, Ul. K. Marksa 34, 220016 Minsk, Fax: + 375

17 226-06-10

•  General Prosecutor, Grigory Alekseevich Vasilevich, Internatsionalnaya str. 22, 220050

Minsk, Belarus, Fax: + 375 17 226 42 52

•  Minister of Justice of Belarus, Mr. Viktor Grigorevich Golovanov, Ul. Kollektornaya, 10,

220004 Minsk, Belarus, Email 

•  President of the Supreme Court of Belarus, Mr. Valentin Olegovich Sukalo, Ul. Lenina,

28, 220030 Minsk, Belarus, Email: 

•  Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva, 15 avenue de la paix,

1211  Geneva  20,  Switzerland,  Fax:  +41  22  748  24  51.  Email: 

•  Embassy of Belarus in Brussels, 192 avenue Moliиre, 100 Ixelles, Belgium, Fax : + 32

2.340.02.87, Email : 


Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Belarus in your respective country.



Paris-Geneva, January 31, 2012


Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.  


To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line: 

•  E-mail: 

•  Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80 

•  Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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