News for April 2008
30.04.2008 Artist Ales Pushkin tried for EU flag in Bobr village
Famous artist Ales Pushkin is to have trial at 11.00am on 3 May. He will be tried for a performance dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Belarusian National Republic.
30.04.2008 U.S. citizen beaten in Belarusian prison
On 25 April the United States consul Caroline Savage visited the arrested in Minsk American lawyer Emanuel Zeltser. According to the consul, Zeltser said her he had been beaten on the second and third days of his detention.
30.04.2008 Minsk city public prosecutor’s office to examine once again an issue of the return of journalists’ property
The issue of returning computers and other property to journalists, confiscated during the searches of 27 and 28 March, «will be dealt with once again after the given property is examined». This is stated in another letter from Minsk City Public Prosecutor’s Office in response to an appeal of BAJ.
30.04.2008 Belarus is among 10 countries with the worst situation on the freedom of press
In advance of World Press Freedom Day, on May 3rd, Freedom House has released its annual survey of global press freedom. Belarus is in 188th place out of 195 in Freedom of the Press 2008 ranking. Here is the report on Belarus by Freedom House.
30.04.2008 “Media in Belarus’2008” exhibition took place without independent media participating
Officials received diplomas for the best publications on the issue of state building. The prizes were awarded during the opening ceremony of the 12th «Media in Belarus» International Exhibition on Monday in «Belexpo» Exhibition Center. According to a BAJ Press Service correspondent’s observation, there are no independent civil and political newspapers represented at the exhibition.
28.04.2008 Organizer of the protests in Druzhny gets to hospital
Mr. Abrazouski is one of the organizers of mass protests against construction of chemistry plant near Druzhny in Pukhavichy district. Today he was to be tried for organizing an unsanctioned rally in Svislach, which took place on March 29th.
However, last Saturday Mr. Abrazouski was stopped by police on his way to Minsk, where he was going to take part in Chernobyl March. After the incident his blood pressure rose and he was taken to hospital.
Today he will be moved to the hospital in Svislach, his home town. He will spend there about 10 days. Siarhei Abrazouski said he would contact Pukhavichy court and inform them that he would not be able to come for the trial.
28.04.2008 Minsk city court fails to satisfy complaint of Natalia Yasevich
On April 25th Minsk city court heard the complaint filed by Natalia Yasevich, mother of Young Front member Zmitser Yasevich. Natalia was accused of participation in the freedom march on March 25th.
On the Freedom Day Natalia Yasevich, when she saw the detained and beaten young people, asked to go with them in a police truck to accompany them to the police station. However, when the police truck arrived at Partyzanski district police station, the police charged Natalia with participation in an unauthorized rally. Natalia spent the night in Akrestsina detention center. The next day the court fined her 30 basic units.
28.04.2008 Siarhei Parsiukevich appeals the verdict
On April 28th entrepreneur Siarhei Parsiukevich filed a complaint against the court decision which found him guilty and sentenced him to 2.5 years of imprisonment.
Lawyer Vera Stramkouskaya lists the arguments why the verdict should be cancelled:
“Firstly, the court took only the testimony of the prosecution witnesses into account. Bodily injuries of Siarhei Parsiukevich were not considered, his clothes with his blood stains were not attached to the case, and no evaluation of that was made. Finally, the prosecution witnesses were inconsistent in their testimony. They contradicted each other and their own words.”
Recently Parsiukevich was moved to a cell which is located in the underground floor and has no windows.
“He has problems with breathing there. There is no fresh air. He has regular asthma attacks. We demand to send him to hospital”, -- Vera Stramkouskaya says.
28.04.2008 Siarhei Tryfanau gets 10 days of jail
Navabelitski district court of Homel punished the last of the tried participants of the historical tour in Homel with 10 days of jail.
On March 23rd, about 20 people with white and red balloons walked around the places related to the life of Paluta Badunova, minister of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. The police videotaped the tour, and drew up reports against 8 people for violation of the order of organizing mass events.
28.04.2008 Vitebsk activist Siarhei Kavalenka to be tried
On April 26th member of Christian Conservative Party Siarhei Kavalenka came out to the center of the city with white-red-white flag: he wanted to draw attention of the Belarusian society to the consequences of Chernobyl disaster which are still urgent for Belarus.
In literally couple of minutes he was detained by police and taken to Chyhunachny district police department. The police drew up a report under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code (“Violation of the order of organizing and holding mass events”). Kavalenka was placed in the local jail to wait for trial.
Chyhunachny district police also detained well-known activist Barys Khamaida. He was taken to the police department for distribution of independent newspapers. Khamaida was released in three hours after giving written explanations about non-state newspapers “Narodnaya Volia” and “Kuryer iz Vitebska”
28.04.2008 “Candle of Memory” in Biaroza
On April 26th, a group of pro-democratic activists, NGO members and young people organized a traditional “candle of memory” action in Biaroza. The action was dedicated to Chernobyl disaster and the memory of people who died as a result of the disaster.
It was on the city square of Biaroza, where the soviet authorities organized a Labor Day demonstration on May 1st, 1986 – right after the disaster. That’s why the activists traditionally organize the “candle of memory” action on that square – people with lit candles stand in a chain. During the last five years the police were always present, but never interfered in the action.
This year the police detained Siarzhuk Rusetski, human rights defender and BPF member. They decided he was the organizer of the action. The police drew up a report accusing him of organizing a picket. In his turn, Rusetski believes the organized action was not a picket and did not need permission from local authorities. The argument will be solved in the local court.
25.04.2008 Criminal charges against Young Front member dropped
Head of Homel branch of Young Front Andrus Tsianiuta received a note signed by KGB investigator D. Sidliarou saying that the criminal charges under Article 193.1 had been finally dropped. The decision is based on Article 259 part 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides for satisfaction of the petition of the suspect.
25.04.2008 Andrei Liubianchuk detained
Brest human rights activist Uladzimir Vialichkin reports, civic activist Andrei Liubianchuk was detained today at about 3.30 p.m. His car was stopped by road policeman Anatol Bashko for examination. He suspected that the car was stolen. The car was checked at Maskouski district police department, but the activist was not released. Probably, the police are looking for a reason to prevent Liubianchuk from participation in Chernobyl March.
25.04.2008 Uladzimir Kishkurna fined for Chernobyl flyers
On April 25th Minsk district court found BPF activist Uladzimir Kishkurna guilty of violation under Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code and fined him 15 basic units.
Uladzimir Kishkurna was detained on April 21st in his own car near kaliadzichy. The police examined the car and found flyers dedicated to the planned mass rally. In the police station they drew up a report about the offence and seized the flyers.
25.04.2008 Law-enforcement raid in Babruisk
Regional police look for potential participants of Chernobyl March