Viasna writes to UN Special Rapporteur on peaceful assembly over July 3 arrests
Aliaksei Loika, lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, has prepared a message to Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, to complain about the illegal arrest and detention of over 30 protesters and observers on July 3 in Minsk.
The peaceful assembly entitled “Action of Liberation and Solidarity” was announced by opposition leader Mikalai Statkevich. He, along with several dozen associates, was expected to express solidarity with Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik, leaders of the independent REP trade union, who are facing politically motivated charges.
“These persons intended to exercise their right to peaceful assembly”, but were “pre-emptively detained before the start of the peaceful assembly by representatives of the security forces in civilian clothing,” says the letter.
The detainees were held for four and a half hours and were eventually released without charges. Their procedural rights were grossly violated. Statkevich was later fined for calling to join the protest.
“Thus, the Belarusian authorities, in violation of article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, suppressed all attempts by the participants in the assembly to exercise their right to peaceful assembly,” concludes the activist, asking the Special Rapporteur to “intervene by using the mechanisms provided the mandate.”