Picks of the week
On February 14, the Supreme Court confirmed an earlier ruling by the Minsk City Court that sentenced former political prisoner Dzmitry Paliyenka to 3 years of house imprisonment.
Paliyenka was not allowed to attend the appeal hearing after court security officers said his provocative clothes could be viewed as contempt of court.
The sentence, which was eventually reduced to 10 months, stemmed from the “malicious hooliganism” charges he faced after using pepper spray in a street conflict. Belarusian human rights organizations criticized the sentence as failing to be based on any evidence.
Prison authorities are destroying the letters political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny has been mailing to his friends and associates, his penpal and opposition activist Volha Nikalaichyk claims.
“Mikhail wrote to me on February 12, apparently soon after he was released from the punishment cell”, the activist said to palitviazni.info. “He says that several of his Valentine’s Day cards were destroyed due to “damage to state agencies and individuals”. Two more letters were withdrawn over suspected “cynicism”.”
Zhamchuzhny also stresses that most of his complaints are held for days until they lose eligibility for consideration by the courts and prosecuting authorities.
On February 19, the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities presented an alternative report on the implementation of the UN thematic Convention.
The report offers a number of recommendations for the government.
Belarusian authorities are urged to:
- continue the discussion and cooperation on the rights of people with disabilities;
- more strictly follow the rules of the Convention.
- establish an authorized body for the rights of people with disabilities;
- adopt anti-discrimination legislation;
- review of the concept of employment capacity with respect to health criteria, in accordance with the Convention.
Belarus signed the Convention in 2016.