Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in May 2012
did not bring any positive changes
in the human rights situation in general and the situation of
political prisoners in particular. On 24 May, while listening to a
report by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Siarhei Martynau,
Aliaksandr Lukashenka explicitly stated he had no intention to change
his position on political prisoners: "Lately, I have been
hearing more and more statements that European diplomats here are
waiting for some kind of amnesty, starting talks about political
prisoners, and so on. I just want to publicly say that I will not
return to this subject (...) We are waiting for concrete steps from
the West, the European Union. The ball is on their side. It is my
firm conviction. That’s why I am not going to wait for this play on
old instruments by old notes again."
This statement by Aliaksandr Lukashenka witnesses that he was waiting for some concessions from the European Union in response to the release of Andrei Sannikau and Zmitser Bandarenka this April and was disappointed that the European Union insistently demands the release of all political prisoners for resumption of political dialogue and cooperation.
The situation was aggravated by the delivery of another politically motivated criminal verdict: on 29 May civil activist Vasil Parfiankou was sentenced to six months of arrest on charges of violating the terms of preventive supervision. Earlier he had been sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment within the framework of the “mass riot case”, instigated in connection with the events of 19 December 2010 and was granted parole by a presidential decree. Vasil Parfiankou continued civil activities after his release from jail. The preventive supervision was established over him after he had been detained at an action of solidarity with political prisoners. The verdict against V. Parfiankou has not yet entered into force and will be appealed. Human rights activists state that in case of imprisonment he will be declared a political prisoner.
Civil activists were detained and given administrative punishments throughout the month. There were many cases when people were given punishments on the basis of fabricated charges of “disorderly conduct”. Police and courts actively participated in this unlawful persecution. Human rights defenders believe that the people who have been repeatedly and unlawfully deprived of liberty for a long time can be considered as political prisoners.
In May there was published a report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Belarus, which had been presented orally at the 18th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September last year. As far as the recommendations remain largely unfulfilled by the Belarusian government, UNHCR repeats them, emphasizing additional requirements. The part of the report which concerns freedom of associations and human rights defenders in Belarus includes information about facts of repressions against the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the defamation campaigns against the political opposition, human rights activists and journalists.
Political prisoners, politically motivated prosecutions
13 political prisoners – Ihar Alinevich, Mikalai Autukhovich, Ales Bialiatski, Dzmitry Dashkevich, Mikalai Dziadok, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Siarhei Kavalenka, Eduard Lobau, Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich, Artsiom Prakapenka, Pavel Syramalotau and Yauhen Vaskovich, were still kept in jail. What concerns the last three – human rights defenders demand that their cases be reviewed by an independent court. On 21 April Aliaksandr Lukashenka announced his intention to declare an amnesty on 3 July, and many people perceived it as a sign that this legal mechanism could be used for the release of political prisoners. However, experts were skeptical about the effectiveness of using such tools because a part of the political prisoners were declared persistent violators due to the received disciplinary penalties, and Ales Bialiatski will have an unpaid fine when an appropriate verdict of the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk enters into legal force.
On 29 May there appeared a potential political prisoner – civil activist Vasil Parfiankou, who was sentenced to 6 months of arrest by Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk under Article 421 of the Criminal Code (violation of the terms of preventive supervision established by the court). In February 2011 Vasil Parfiankou was sentenced to four years imprisonment under Part 2 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code ("participation in mass riot") for participating in the post-election protests on 19 December 2010. In August 2010 he was released on parole by a presidential decree. He was repeatedly detained for participation in street actions. As a result, preventive supervision was established over him.
Another reason for concern was that preventive supervision had been established over two more youth activists, who had also been convicted for participation in the post-election protests and granted parole by a presidential decree – Pavel Vinahradau and Uladzimir Yaromenak, which could result in criminal liability for violation of the conditions of release on parole.
As it became known on 2 May, Vitsebsk activist of the Conservative-Christian Party “Belarusian Popular Front” Siarhei Kavalenka was transferred from the guarded department of the national scientific-practical center of psychical health in Navinki (where he underwent a complex psychiatric examination on court decision) to the remand prison of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Valadarski Street in Minsk. On 4 May the MIA Department of Corrections informed Kavalenka’s mother that he had been found mentally healthy. On 8 May the convict resumed for the third time the hunger-strike he had been keeping since his arrest of 19 December 2011. On 18 April Vitsebsk Region Court dismissed the appeal of S. Kavalenka and left the verdict in force, and on 20 May he was transferred to Mahiliou colony #19 for serving his prison term (he was sentenced to 25 months of imprisonment).
On 22 the court marshals attached the property at the summer residence of the imprisoned head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski in the execution of the sentence concerning the confiscation of property. Earlier, in March, the court did this in his apartment in Minsk, and on 30 March – in another apartment, where the office of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” is situated.
At the beginning of the month it was found that the correspondence of A. Bialiatski was restricted – he didn’t receive two letters from human rights defender Anastasia Loika. As there were no prohibited items in the letters, A. Loika filed complaints to the Department of Corrections Ministry of the Mahiliou Region, Mahiliou Region Procuracy and Mahiliou civil commission for supervision over the incarceration conditions at the main justice department of Mahiliou Region Executive Committee.
Limitation of correspondence was used towards Yauhen Vaskovich, and Pavel Syramalotau didn’t receive the subscribed newspapers through April in Mahiliou colony #19. The prisoner’s mother learned this during a short-term meeting with him. She didn’t manage to find out the reason why he was deprived of the right to receive the newspapers.
At the end of May Mikalai Dziadok was put in single confinement in Shklou colony #7 for six months on decision of the head of the colony. Prior to that, he was repeatedly forced to write a petition for clemency. Mikalai was also deprived of the long-term visits with his mother and wife, which had previously been allowed in June. During his stay in Babruisk and Shklou colonies he received more than 10 disciplinary penalties for fabricated reasons, such as “incorrect reaction to a remark”.
On 7 May the mother and sister of Uladzislau Kavaliou, one of the convicted and executed for the terrorist act in the Minsk subway, addressed Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the proposal to adopt a decree allowing to issue the bodies of the executed to their families, and inform the families about the places of burial of those who had been executed earlier. They propose to abolish point 5 of Article 175 of the Criminal-Executive Code, because "there is no reasonable justification for the non-issuance of the executed bodies to relatives or hide the place of burial from them”. The relatives of Uladzislau Kavaliou proposed to amend the legislations because they believe that existing regulations are extremely cruel and inhumane in relation to the relatives of the executed.
On 8 May, during the address of A. Lukashenka to the Parliament and the people, MP Samaseika asked him about the death penalty and the possibility of a moratorium on it. Aliaksandr Lukashenka said: "I will never agree to a moratorium. I know the people’s moods. You can turn your TV off. Two villains break into an apartment, rape a daughter, kill her and throw into the bathroom. What to do with them? I instantly reject a petition for clemency. Do you know what the last two death sentences, when the whole world presses on you, cost me? I am the president and I have to do as the society wants. If you are a scoundrel and a skunk, and you commit an offense, be prepared to answer for it. However, may be the society has come to a moratorium."
Torture and cruel treatment
On 10 May Salihorsk civil activists addressed the House of Representatives with the proposal to introduce the notion of "torture" and liability for this crime in the criminal legislation of Belarus. The deputies were also required to start working out a law against torture. Bear in mind that the Belarusian legislation does not give a definition of "torture" athwart requirements of the UN Convention against Torture, ratified by the Republic of Belarus. None of the legal acts of the Republic of Belarus contain such definition. In Belarus, there are such crimes as abuse of power and some others which can provide an indirect punishment for actions that can be regarded as torture or ill-treatment, but there is no direct punishment for torture. In their address to the House of Representatives activists drew attention to the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture to Belarus, made during the 47th session last autumn. In particular, the Committee recommended immediately entering into the Criminal Code provisions giving the definition of torture, and classifying it as a criminal offense, in full accordance with Articles 1 and 4 of the UN Convention against Torture.
On 19 May “European Belarus” activist Andrei Mouchan was detained and severely beaten near “Pershamaiski" supermarket in Rusiyanau Street. He unfurled a white-red-white flag on the street, after which a police car arrived. The policemen severely beat him and pulled him into the car. As a result, he was taken to hospital #11, from which he was signed out on 25 May. According to the preliminary medical conclusion, he was diagnosed with a cranial trauma, fracture of a jaw and ribs, bruises of kidneys and legs. From the hospital he was directed to medical treatment in the polyclinic. In the final conclusion, given to him at the departure, he was diagnosed only with a light cranial trauma, whereas the fracture of the jaw and other trauma are put to doubt in it.
Politically motivated restrictions on freedom of movement
On 4 May the deputy head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich applied to the Investigation Committee of the Republic of Belarus with the request to bring a criminal case concerning the intentional criminal acts (possibly including forgery), aimed at the unlawful restriction of his constitutional right to travel abroad by introducing his surname in the database of the citizens of the Republic of Belarus, who were temporarily prohibited to leave Belarus. Valiantsin Stefanovich told the Investigative Committee about the futility of his appeals to various government agencies where he sought an answer to the question on whose decision he was prohibited to travel outside of Belarus. In the notice, issued to Mr. Stefanovich by the citizenship and migration bureau of Partyzanski District Police Department of Minsk, it is stated that he was put on this list by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus for evading from measures connected to draft into the army and military service in the reserve. According to officers of Partyzanski District Police Department of Minsk, his surname was put in the database by some Charednik A.V. On receiving this notice the human rights defender required explanations from Partyzanski district military enlistment office in Minsk. The military commissioner and his deputies answered that they hadn’t sent any information about V. Stefanovich anywhere. At the same time, Stefanovich noted that the grounds for the temporary restriction of his right to leave Belarus, specified in the notice, were absurd and obviously illegal. First, he is 12 years older than the maximum recruitment age specified by the law, and secondly, he passed military service in 1990-92. Considering journalists and members of NGOs and opposition political parties were also prohibited to travel abroad for similar reasons, the human rights defender expressed the opinion that these limitations are not an accidental and indicate a planned illegal politically motivated action of the Belarusian secret services.
Though the legal term for considering Valiantsin Stefanovich’s lawsuit against the unlawful foreign travel restrictions, expired back on 26 April, the date of hearings was still not appointed by the end of May. The office of Tsentralny District Court of Minsk stated that the date of the trial was not appointed and they didn’t know when it would be appointed.
This very court failed to timely consider analogical lawsuits of some other persons who were subject to foreign travel restrictions: the head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak and the head of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka. All these cases were to have been considered by Judge Alena Siamak.
Administrative persecution of social and political activists, arbitrary detentions
On 1 May the police detained three activists from Brest, Stas Fiadzko, Illia Labushniak and Uladzimir Katrych, on a highway near Kobryn. The activists were going to Minsk in order to take part in the assembly on amendment of the electoral legislation, held by Dzmitry Uss. The alleged reason for the detention was that there were some problems with the documents for the car. The discrimination lasted for three hours, as a result of which the activists didn’t manage to get to the event.
On 1 May officers of the Baranavichy Transport Police Department detained at the central railway station a group of civil activists who were going to Minsk in order to take part in the assembly of the initiative group of Dzmitry Uss. Among the detainees there were Artsiom Babei, Viachaslau Bolbat, Aliaksandr Davydau and Ryhor Hryk. They were detained by eight policemen and eight people in civvies, who stated that according to their information the detainees were carrying explosives or suspicious items. That’s why all of them were guarded to the police station at the railway station for a search. The reports of examination and search were drawn up. Haven’t found anything suspicious, the police released the detainees after 2.5 hours.
On 6 May 13 people were detained at a picnic near the village of Zhdanovichy (Minsk district). Among the detainees there were folk singers Zmitser Bartosik and Ihar Simbirou who was released that day after serving a ten-day arrest (on 26 April he had come from Asipovichy to the “Chernobyl Way” rally in Minsk, but had been detained and sentenced to 10 days of arrest).
All detainees were guarded to the police station of Zhdanovichy, where they were subject to forced dactylography and videoing. All of them were released at about 9 p.m., except for Ihar Simbirou, who was charged with using obscene language in public and detained till trial (he spent the night at Minsk District Police Department). On 7 May Minsk District Court started considering his case, but postponed the hearings to 18 May.
At about 1 p.m. on 8 May unknown people detained Ihar Simbirou again near Chaliuskintsy Park in Minsk and pulled him into a black “Mercedes” car. After this Ihar Simbirou was taken to Minsk District Court, where Judge Aliaksei Minich suddenly continued the trial and sentenced him to 15 days of arrest.
On 7 May Alena Minsnik, judge of Smaliavichy District Court, sentenced the leaders of the civil campaign “Tell the Truth” Andrei Dzmitryieu and Mikhail Pashkevich to ten days of arrest. They were found guilty under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, “violation of the order of organizing and holding mass events” for taking part in an “unauthorized assembly” of owners of country residences in connection with the construction of a Chinese industrial park. The protest assembly took part back in March 2012, but the police paid interest to its organizers only after it received a wide public response.
Only on 10 May it became known that on 24 April Ihar Shalai had been detained near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for posting stickers “No to death penalty”. Two policemen guarded him to Savetski District Police Department of Minsk. A report under Article 17.1 of the CAO (“disorderly conduct”) was drawn up against him. On 25 March he was sentenced to ten days of arrest by Savetski District Court of Minsk.
On 14 May the trial over activist of the “Young Front” Mikhail Muski started at Maskouski District Court of Minsk. The activist was to have been released after the 15-day arrest to which he had been sentenced for participation in the “Chernobyl Way” rally in Minsk. However, he was left in the detention facility in Akrestsin Street. He was charged with disorderly conduct and sentenced to 5 more days of arrest by the judge Viktar Kazak. On 16 May he was taken away from the detention facility to the military unit in the village of Mezhytsa (Vitsebsk region). He managed to phone his friends on the way to the military unit.
On 14 May an apartment rented by “Young Front” activists was assaulted by the police. Mikalai Dzemidzenka, Zmitser Kremianetski and Raman Vasilyeu were detained with an excessive use of physical violence and taken away in unknown direction. The policemen took away the keys from the apartment. All present people were order to lie down on the floor. At first, Uladzimir Yaromenak was ordered to stand facing the wall with his legs spread far apart, but then a policeman knocked him down.
On 15 May the “Young Front” activists were found at Tsentralny District Court of Minsk. They were charged with disorderly conduct. Nobody was admitted to the trial, even their lawyers. Mikalai Dzemidzenka was sentenced to 10 days of arrest by Judge Vaitsekhovich, Zmitser Kremianetski – to 10 days of arrest, and Raman Vasilyeu – to 12 days of arrest by Judge Alena Tkachova.
On 16 May Leninski District Court of Minsk considered the administrative case of Ivan Amelchanka, author of the poster "Musorok", detained the day before at Leninski District Police Department of Minsk, where he came on his own, as the police were constantly disturbing his parents and relatives trying to summon him as a witness in the “mass riot” case (concerning the post-election protests of 19 December 2010). A report under Article 17.1, “disorderly conduct”, was drawn up on Ivan Amelchanka. Judge Mikhail Khoma sentenced Ivan to 15 days of arrest.
On 17 May the administrative cases of “Young Front” activists Pavel Siarhei and Uladzimir Yaromenak (detained in an apartment the day before) were considered at Frunzenski District Court of Minsk. U. Yaromenak was sentenced to 7 days of arrest by Judge Liudmila Lapo and P. Siarhei – to 5 days of arrest by Judge Natallia Karobina.
On 18 May the wife of political prisoner Siarhei Kavalenka, his cousin and an activist of the “European Belarus” Alena Semenchukova were detained before the beginning of the consideration of Siarhei’s appeal at Vitsebsk Region Court. The police charged them with writing “Freedom to Siarhei Kavalenka!” on the asphalt in front of the court. On 30 May the detainees were to have been tried at Kastrychnitski District Court of Minsk, but Judge Ina Hrabouskaya returned the case to the police for revising. According to the court information, the charges will be changed from disorderly conduct to an insignificant damage of property. A. Kavalenka hoped that the case would be dropped at all altogether.
On 24 May activist of the “Young Front” U. Yaromenak was guarded to Maskouski District Court of Minsk from the detention facility in Akrestsin Street, from which he was to have been released the previous night. He was charged with disorderly conduct (Article 17.1 of CAO). Judge Tatsiana Motyl sentenced him to ten more days of arrest.
On 25 May Maskouski District Court of Minsk considered the administrative case of Zmitser Kremianetski who was charged with using obscene language in public (disorderly conduct, Article 17.1 of CAO). Judge Tatsiana Motyl sentenced him to 10 days of arrest. It’s worth noting that Zmitser had been released from the detention facility in Akrestsin Street the day before, on 24 May.
On 27 May the police detained a group of youth who met with a doctor of technical sciences, expert on nuclear energy Heorhi Lepin at the “Tractor” stadium. 21 people were taken to Maskouski District Police Department of Minsk. Police officers used physical violence towards some of them, threatened to draw administrative reports and imprison the detainees. However, all of them were released after forced dactylography.
On 26 May “Young Front” activist Raman Vasilyeu was to have been released after serving a 12-day arrest for hanging out a national white-red-white flag on an anniversary of the referendum as a result of which a modified version of the Soviet-era flag and coat of arms became the state symbols of Belarus. Instead of release from jail R. Vasilyeu received new charges under Article 17.1 of CAO. On 28 May Judge Tatsiana Motyl sentenced him to 12 more days of arrest.
On 30 May "European Belarus" activist Maksim Viniarski was detained for putting up posters addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came to Minsk with an official visit that day. M. Viniarski was guarded to Maskouski District Court of Minsk and sentenced to 5 days of arrest.
On 30 May ational-Bolsheviks Yauhen Kontush and Zmitser Siniak, were punished with 5-day arrests and Zmitser Paliyenka – with 10 days of arrest.
On 30 May Ivan Amelchanka who was to have been freed after serving a 15-day arrest, received new charges under Article 17.1 of the CAO. The trial took place behind the closed doors at Maskouski District Court of Minsk. Judge Tatsiana Motyl sentenced I. Amelchanka to ten days of administrative arrest.
In the evening of 31 May Svetlahorsk police detained the activists of the civil campaign “Tell the Truth”, journalists and local dwellers during a protest action against the construction of a bleached pulp plant near the village of Yakimava Slabada. All detainees were released, except for Mikhail Pashkevich, who was left at Svetlahorsk District Police Department. He was charged under Article 23.4 of the CAO ("intervention in the actions of the police"). On 1 June Iryna Aliseika, judge of Svetlahorsk District Court, sentenced M. Pashkevich to 7 days of arrest.
At about 6 p.m. on 31 May the head of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (Vilnius), Professor of European University in St. Petersburg Aliaksei Pikulik stopped responding to calls to his mobile phone. Several hours few hours later it became known that he was at Tsentralny District Court of Minsk. He was charged with disorderly conduct (Article 17.1 of the CAI) and on 1 June Judge of the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk Yakunchykhin sentenced him to 5 days of arrest.
Restrictions on freedom of speech and the right to impart information, persecution of journalists
At about 8.30 p.m. on 2 May police came to the Minsk office of Radio “Racyja” while examining the apartments near Peramoha Square, where a rehearsal of the 9 May military parade was to take place. Journalist Henadz Barbarych, who was on duty at the time, opened the door. Having seen Radio “Racyja” logos, the policemen called for backup from Tsentralny District Police Department. Eventually, they took away the office computers for examination. The police wrote a "report of survey" which indicated that the techniques were taken away for examination.
On 29 May Homel Region Procuracy issued an official warning to independent journalist Larysa Schyrakova for cooperation with the satellite TV channel "BelSat". Larysa was summoned to the procuracy and shown two statements from the villagers of Yakimava Slabada (Svetlahorsk district). The “outraged” villages allegedly demanded that L. Shchyrakova be prosecuted. In the statements it was written that she had allegedly cheated participants of the assembly of villagers, as she introduced herself as a worker of the state TV, but her report was shown on the “opposition” TV channel – “BelSat”. L. Shyrakova denied these accusations and wanted to appeal the warning which was issued to her by the procuracy.
On 31 May Salihorsk police detained journalists, local dwellers and members of the civil initiative “Tell the Truth” at a protest against the construction of a bleached pulp plant. Among the detainees there were journalists Aliaksandr Barazenka, Siarhei Balai, Alina Radachynskaya and Ina Studzinskaya and activists of “Tell the Truth” Hanna Kurlovich, Mikhail Pashkevich, Aliaksandr Ulitsionak and Siarhei Vazniak. The journalists were freed after giving explanations.
Restrictions on freedom of assembly
On 4 May the head of the Homel regional organization of the United Civil Party Vasil Paliakou applied to the UN Committee on Human Rights. The politician believes that the Belarusian authorities, who sentenced him to five days of arrest for the organization of a national assembly violated Article 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – namely, the right to freedom of information and of peaceful assembly. On the eve of the national assembly, on 9 October 2011, the court found him guilty of violating Article 23.34 of the CAO (violation of the order of organizing and holding mass events), and punished him with arrest. V.Paliakou disagreed with the decision of the district court and appealed against it in the higher courts – the regional and the Supreme Court, but his lawsuits weren’t granted.
On 11 May it became known that Rahachou District Executive Committee banned pickets and an assembly in the district Palace of Culture within the framework of the campaign “Let’s return “Dazhynki” to Rahachou!”. The reason for the ban was that that it was prohibited to hold any mass events in the Palace of Culture. Another (already traditional) reason was that the applicants failed to conclude agreements with the police, communal utilities and ambulance.
In May, pickets “For Fair Elections without Lukashenka!” were banned all over Belarus. 24 activists from Homel and 7 more – from cities of Homel region applied for the authorization of such pickets. By these actions they wanted to draw public attention to the problem of the absence of free and fair elections in Belarus. The pickets were to have been held on 15 May. Applicants from Babruisk and Mahiliou weren’t allowed to hold such pickets either. Four pickets were banned in Barysau. Activists of the United Civil Party intended to hold 5 pickets on 15 May, but all of them were banned – including the pickets which were to be hold in the places which had been officially determined for such actions by the authorities. Orsha City Executive Committee didn’t authorize the 14 pickets UCP activists intended to hold on 31 May. The reason for the ban was as usual – the absence of agreements with medics, communal utilities and police.
Salihorsk authorities banned a cycling tour timed to the anniversary of the referendum of 14 May 1995, which resulted in a white-red-white flag and coat of arms "Pahonia" to have lost the status of state symbols. The application was filed by “Young Front” member Andrei Tychyna. The event was scheduled for 26 May.
On 22 May pickets in support of the school with the Polish language of instruction were banned in Hrodna. Representatives of the Polish national minority wanted to hold four pickets to demand preservation of the language regime at school #36. The authorities explained their ban with the absence of service agreements with the police, communal utilities ad medics.
On 29 May a picket of a young post-graduate Aliaksei Paulouski was banned in Minsk. Mr. Paulouski intended to picket the Institute of Physiology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus on 30 May in order to draw the public attention to the failure of the institute administration to provide post-graduates from other cities with places in the dormitory. Minsk City Executive Committee stated that the action could not be authorized as repair works would be held in Akademichnaya Street at the specified time.
Freedom of association
On 23 May a worker of housing and operational service #12 applied to the editorial board of the “Brestskiy Kuryer” newspaper and reported that the administration of the service distributed among workers applications for joining the “state NGO” “Belaya Rus”. Each worker received two applications, which were already filled – it was necessary just to enter one’s name, surname and home address and sign them. One of the applications was to the head of Brest Maskouski district branch of “Belaya Rus” Maryia Haldun: “Please, let me join the national civil association “Belaya Rus”. I have been acquainted with the Charter and agree with it.” As it follows from the sample application, it was prepared specially for women. The other application is addressed to the head of Brest housing and operational bureau Pavel Zahrai: “I ask you to exact the membership fees of 0.3% from my salary on a monthly basis for the further transfer of the NGO" Belaya Rus".
As it became known on 24 May, the appeal of the founders of the civil association “For Fair Elections” was registered at the UN Human Rights Committee. In 2011 the Belarusian Ministry of Justice refused to register the association with the state. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the ministry, thus depriving the association of an opportunity to acquire a legal status. As a result, Siarhei Kaliakin and other founders applied to the Human Rights Committee, appealing the violation of their right to association by the Republic of Belarus. In their appeal it was also stated that activities on behalf of unregistered organizations were criminally prosecuted in Belarus.