Picks of the week
New fines for Brest activists
On February 15, human rights activist of Viasna HRC Uladzimir Vialichkin and local activist Vital Kazak were detained. They were charged with participating in an unauthorized protest against a battery factory under construction near Brest on February 10.
On February 16, activist and blogger Aliaksandr Kabanau was detained in Biaroza on the same grounds. He was released after interrogation. On February 18, the day of the trial, "Viasna" HRC issued a statement in which it pointed out that
Uladzimir Vialichkin monitored the enforcement of freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights acts, and hence attended all peaceful assemblies that took place in the city.
The detention of Uladzimir Vialichkin is essentially persecution for his human rights activities.
Vital Kazak was fined 40 base values, Uladzimir Vialichkin - 15 base values.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders called on the international community to urgently intervene in this situation.
The Public Association Ecohome also informed the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee about the facts of the persecution and pressure on activists in Brest struggling against the construction of the battery factory.
New intriguing date for elections
At an online video briefing on February 22, chairwoman of the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Belarus Lidzija Jarmoshyna proposed to hold elections on December 1, 2019, however, she didn't indicate what elections she meant.
"We hope that the intrigue will be revealed in the annual address of the President, sometime in April," she added.
To recap, both presidential and parliamentary elections should be held in 2020 in Belarus. However, information appeared in 2018 about the possible moving forward of one of the election campaigns for 2019.
Regarding changes in electoral legislation, Jarmoshyna said that first the Constitution should be amended, so there was no sense to make changes to the Electoral Code at the moment. Part of the OSCE proposals concerning changes in electoral legislation following the latest campaigns were "inventively" processed by the Central Electoral Commission and sent to the president for revision.
Hlybokaje journalist fined nearly 900 rubles
A freelance journalist from Hlybokaje Dzmitry Lupach received his first fine in 2019 for the cooperation with Belsat TV channel. The reason for persecution was a report about a monument in honor of the centenary of the Komsomol, reports belsat.eu.
Judge Andrej Tarasevich punished the journalist with a fine at a rate of 35 base values (892 rubles 50 kopecks) under Article 22.9 of the Administrative Offenses Code (violation of legislation on mass media).
Last year Dzmitry Lupach was tried nine times; the total amount of fines totaled more than 6,300 rubles.