Human rights activist insists that head of presidential administration assessed actions of Viciebsk police

2015 2015-04-16T15:13:49+0300 2015-04-16T15:13:49+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Graffiti in Vitsebsk

Graffiti in Vitsebsk

Human rights defender Pavel Levinau has sent another letter to head of President Lukashenka’s administration Aliaksandr Kosinets to complain about the notorious photo session with cages and birds, whose participants were accused of unauthorized picketing.

According to the human rights defender, he sent his first letter to the former Chairman of the Viciebsk Regional Executive Committee back in February. However, Pavel Levinau has not received any response from Aliaksandr Kosinets:

“I appealed to the position of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who was dissatisfied with the fact that the police punished people when they were not engaged in any wrongdoing. In particular, he said that such actions damaged the government’s reputation reducing its authority in society. After that, in particular, the police dropped charges against Anatol Liabedzka, who came out with a poster to commemorate the French cartoonists. I gave the example of a photo shoot at the building with graffiti. Several activists and journalists were photographed on this background, repeating the image on the wall – with paper birds and cages. They did not interfere with passers-by or created any danger. No one has complained about them, and in general the police learned about the photo shoot only from the Internet - when the pictures were posted online. Then Aliaksandr Rybakou, employee of the Chyhunachny District Department of Internal Affairs was ordered to deal with the participants and then submitted seven violation reports for unauthorized picketing.”

As a result, Pavel Levinau asked the official to assess the situation.

“At first it was reported that the deputy chief of department for work with citizens and legal entities K. Pobal redirected my letter to the city executive committee with a request to report on the results. However, deputy chairman Uladzimir Shloma, who currently does not work in this position, wrote that “the Viciebsk city executive committee is not in charge of assessing law enforcement agencies”. What am I, as a citizen, supposed to think? Only that my letter from Minsk was redirected to somewhere, or that Mr. Shloma ignored the order of the presidential administration.”

Without waiting for an adequate response, Pavel Levinau again wrote a letter to Aliaksandr Kosinets. He believes that the situation with the photoshoot, for which seven people were fined and some received short jail terms, discredit both the Viciebsk police and local authorities. After all, the participants were told in court that they were to blame for being photographed without asking for permission from the district administration. And the fact that the photos were reportedly evidence of their alleged political convictions.

The consequences of the photo shoot caused criticism both in Belarus and abroad. Many journalists repeated the Viciebsk photos – they were also photographed with paper cages and origami birds, and even with posters "Is it a crime?"

Pavel Levinau insists that the head of the presidential administration should address the situation, "when for posting photos on the Internet, which does not cause any harm to state security or public safety, public order, health or morals, does not infringe the rights and freedoms of other persons, nationals are subject to repression, and the reputation of the government is undermined.”