Who is the terrorist now?
The House of Representatives adopted in the second
reading the amendments to the legislation on the issues of “fight against
terrorism” and “counteraction to extremism”.
“It is proposed to fundamentally change the definition of the term “terrorism” and consider it as a socially and politically criminal issue, which represents an ideology and practice of violence of a threat of violence”, the deputy head of the Permanent commission of the House of Representatives on national security Uladzimir Vasilenka highlighted today when presenting the draft law.
He explained that implied are violence or a threat of violence for influencing the decision making by the authorities, creating obstacles for political or other civic activity, provocation of international conflicts or a war, intimidation of people.
The subjects of the fight against terrorism are being defined. Among them are the special services, Ministry of Interior’s structures and Border Control, the Ministry of Defense and the Lukashenka’s Security Service as well as other state organizations listed by the Council of Ministers.
Apart from that the legislation draft suggests amendments to the Criminal Code. To the respective articles of the Criminal Code the remarks are being added. According to those a person, who participated in the preparation to a terrorist act may be freed from the criminal responsibility if the person informed the state structures on time about the terroristic act being prepared or prevented it in a different way.
Apart from that in the revised version there is a term “extremist materials” and a definition is given of what is considered financing of extremist activities.
It is also offered to extend the list of the subjects entitled to fight extremism. Customs service and Border Control Service will be reckoned as such: “This would eliminate difficulties with confiscation of extremist products in the case of it being carried across the state border of the Republic of Belarus”.
The draft has some other regulations as well. Particularly, the list of the subjects that can be ascribed or officially warned for violating the extremism counteraction legislation is specified. The heads of organizations, individual entrepreneurs and the media founders will be in the list.
“The authorities are making a safety net before the upcoming social protests. There is material and spiritual decadence in the society, but these events are inevitable. And the authorities need for any of such activities to be treated as terrorism. The regime is trying to warn that this will be treated not as a right of people to change the authorities, but specifically as terrorism”, the former prosecutor’s office investigator Aleh Volchak said in the interview to charter97.org.
“This is being done in order to frighten people and activists. Our law in the past two-three years has been rolling down to conservative brutal decisions taken by the authorities. First the law about mass events was introduced, then the law about the KGB’s mandate, now they are reconsidering the definition of terrorism. Doubtfully the law in such formulation will be supported by international experts”.
In the law the list of the subjects that can officially warned for violating the extremism counteraction legislation is specified.
“I’m sure the leaders of NGOs, individual entrepreneurs and founders of independent media will be referred as the ones. It means practically all the civil society, all the initiative people. The authorities show that it is circled and it is in the opposition to its own people. It is protecting itself. But a social outburst will happen sooner or later. The law will be adopted, but I doubt that this will scare people”.