Picks of the Week
Belarusian human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka has been awarded the French Republic’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity Human Rights Prize for his efforts to strengthen respect for human rights in Belarus.
The activist will receive the award at a ceremony in Paris on the Human Rights Day, December 10.
Sudalenka is known for his work to represent workers in their lawsuits against employers, as well as assistance to protesters hit by large-scale repression of February and March 2017.
Former political prisoner Dzmitry Paliyenka will stand two more administrative trials after he faced new charges of “disobedience to the police”. The activist was released last month, but is required to attend daily lectures arranged by the police department, which he refuses to do.
- “I’m not going to dance to the tune of those who threw me behind bars and I’m not going to let them keep me on the hook,” he said.
Another case of blatant disregard of the law has been exposed by the Human Rights Center “Viasna” as part of its project #БезПраваНаРасправу (NoRightToViolence) showcasing examples of police-related lawlessness in Belarus.
According to Varvara, a student from Hrodna, she, along with a group of her friends, was held for 11 hours on suspicion of arson, humiliated and threatened with imprisonment. Police officers who questioned the teenagers never showed their IDs or explained the procedural status of Varvara and her friends. Two foreign nationals, who were part of the group, said they were physically and verbally abused by the officers. Other received threats of possible academic penalties.
Human rights defenders stress that the practice is widespread in Belarus, as police officers often use illegal means to extort confessions.