News for December 2007

14.12.2007 Zmitser Khvedaruk: ‘They Hit Me in the Head with Knuckledusters’

Zmitser Khvedaruk feels a little better: he has a clear sight and speaks, can move his arms and legs, but still cannot stand and walk. ‘Today I was taken for an X-ray on a wheelchair’, said Zmitser, ‘I cannot even stand up because of acute headaches’.

14.12.2007 Journalist Padsasonny’s Complaint Forwarded to KGB

Homel oblast prosecutor’s office forwarded the complaint of Homel journalist, member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Siarhei Padsasonny against unlawful actions of the KGB to those against who he complained.

14.12.2007 Countrywide Strike of Entrepreneurs Appointed on 19 December

This information was distributed by activists of the entrepreneurs’ organization 'Perspective'. The leader of 'Perspective' Anatol Shumchanka said that the strike of entrepreneurs against presidential decree #760 prohibiting the employment of non-relatives, would take place at the markets of Minsk and all oblast capitals. He also said that provincial entrepreneurs can join the action as well.

14.12.2007 Only 2 out of 800 Picket Applications are granted by Belarusian Authorities

The local authorities have granted only 2 out of about 800 applications for pickets against the repeal of social benefits. Let us remind that on 16 December, on the eve of the benefit cuts, adherents of oppositional parties and organizations are going to hold many social pickets.

14.12.2007 Prosecutor’s Office Abstains from Bringing New Criminal Case against Ivan Shyla

Recently the father of the youth activist Ivan Shyla has paid a visit to the prosecutor’s office of Salihorsk. As a result of a check-up it was decided not to bring a criminal case against Ivan. Still, the police can appeal against this decision of the prosecutor’s office.

14.12.2007 Norwegian PEN-center and IPA: Freedom of Expression Is Violated in Belarus

During the last two years the government of Belarus did not improve the situation of the freedom of expression and continued pressurizing journalists and writers. This is the opinion presented in the report of representatives of the Norwegian PEN-center and the International Publishers’ Association on the results of their visits to Belarus in November 2007.

14.12.2007 Unlawful Restriction of Foreign Travels to Anatol Liabedzka

The chairman of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka cannot receive a permissive seal for foreign travels for a month already. He believes that it is KGB who sanctioned this restriction.

14.12.2007 Zmitser Khvedaruk Complains to Prosecutor’s Office about His Beating

On 12 December the riot police violently dispersed an unauthorized action 'For Independent Belarus' in Kastrychitskaya Square in Minsk. The action was timed to the visit of the Russian president Vladimir Putin. During the dispersal the policemen purposely used violence against some of the action participants. A youth leader Zmitser Khvedaruk suffered most: he lost consciousness and was hospitalized. Later the medics diagnosed brain concussion, closed cranial trauma and numerous bruises.

14.12.2007 Homel Oblast UCP Office Searched again

At about 12.20 a.m. four workers of Homel oblast KGB office came to the private house where Homel city branch of the United Civil Party rents an office.

14.12.2007 Brest: Participants of Anti-Putin Picket Get Imprisoned

A human rights activist Uladzimir Vialichkin told RFE/RL that the riot police detained several public activists near the General consulate of Russia in Brest.

14.12.2007 Poets Get Imprisoned for Speaking ‘Ruffian’ Language

On 13 December Tsentralny district court of Minsk sentenced the Belarusian poets Siarzhuk Minskevich and Ales Turovich to three days of jail and fined Zmitser Vishniou 175 000 Belarusian rubles (about 81 USD).

14.12.2007 Justice Ministry Registers Pro-Lukashenka NGO ‘Belaya Rus’

On 17 November in Minsk the constituent assembly of the public association Belaya Rus took place in Minsk. More than 400 delegates from all six oblasts of Belarus and the city of Minsk took part in it and elected the governing body, the republican soviet, consisting of 85 persons. The education minister of Belarus Aliaksandr Radzkou was elected the chairman of this ‘NGO’, established for support of Aliaksandr Lukashenka and the present government.

14.12.2007 Putin’s Visit Puts Center of Minsk in the State of Emergency

Extraordinary safety measures have been taken in Minsk before Putin’s visit to Minsk. Putin is to take part in the session of the Supreme council of the ‘union state’.

14.12.2007 Participants of Another Action of Protest against Putin’s Visits Detained in Niamiha Street

Actions 'For Independent Belarus' continue in Minsk. Another action against Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus was organized at 6.20 p.m. on 13 December. Several dozens of activists of the civil campaign 'For Freedom!' with a banner ‘Putin, Go Home!’ came out to the Minsk center in Niamiha Street. The young people unfurled European, national and official Belarusian flags. They chanted ‘Putin, Go Home!’ ‘Independence!’, ‘No unions with Russia!’, ‘It’s not Russia here!’ and tore portraits of Putin into pieces.

Human Rights Activists Remind Navumau about Political Prisoners

13.12.2007 Human Rights Activists Remind Navumau about Political Prisoners

On 13 December a group of human rights activists consisting of the deputy chair of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Ales Bialiatski, the human rights activists Alena Laptsionak, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Siarzhuk Sys passed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus (MIA) thousands of origami cranes which had been prepared by the international human rights organization Amnesty International for liberation of the political prisoner Zmitser Dashkevich.

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