News for 20 May 2009

20.05.2009 Independent trade union leader demands reinstatement of fired workers

Mikalai Kanakh, vice-head of the Belarusian Congress of Pro-Dem Trade Unions, says financial assistance to the fired trade union activists is not an adequate remedy to implement the recommendations by the International Labour Organizations, demanding their full reinstatement. At the same time, the trade union leader welcomes the willingness of the government to establish relationships with the independent trade unions and continue cooperating with the ILO. However, Mr.Kanakh is sure no compensation could repair the enormous damage to the Belarusian independent trade union movement caused by the authorities over the past decade.

20.05.2009 Hospital security refuse to accept parcel for Autukhovich

According to the human rights activists Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich, representatives of Belarusian Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior's security service refused to accept a parcel for Mikalai Autukhovich with water and medicines, saying the visitors were not his close relatives. Mr.Labkovich says head of the hospital security admitted his refusal was illegal, which is absolutely intolerable and is an evidence of the cynicism of the authorities, trying to create absurd restrictions.

20.05.2009 Belarus may consider declaring moratorium on death penalty, says MP Hlaz

According to Anatol Hlaz, deputy of the House of Representatives and vice-head of Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media Parliamentary Committee, the Belarusian authorities may soon declare a moratorium on the death penalty. ‘Now we can work out the necessary legislative grounds for declaring a moratorium on the death penalty,’ says Mr.Hlaz. He also stressed that it could ‘facilitate establishing a dialogue with Europe.’

20.05.2009 Protestant church seized

According to www.charter97.org, Minsk housing department officials have been ordered to seize the building belonging to the New Life Protestant church in uptown Minsk. New Life’s lawyer Siarhei Lukanin says the church members have addressed Minsk city authorities with a letter saying they will not leave the building. According to V.Erafeeu, representative of the city housing department, the officials will have to execute the order anyway, providing no explanations on the possible measures.

20.05.2009 Panamarou’s property distressed again

The private house of Siarhei Panamarou, head of BPF Kletsk office, has once again been visited by court executors, who were to distress the property to compensate the fine of BYR 1,050,000 awarded to the politician for arranging a public meeting with Anton Astapovich, head of Monuments Protection Society, as well as a BYR 9,000,000 fine for tax evasion in 2006. According to Mr.Panamarou, the Superior Economic Court has made three attempts to distress his property, repeatedly finding there is nothing to seize.

20.05.2009 A Day in the Life of a Political Prisoner by Radio Liberty

The Belarusian Bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has issued a book ‘A Day in the Life of a Political Prisoner’, featuring 41 stories by Belarusian prisoners of conscience, starting from 1996. According to the author of the book Hanna Sous, the edition is dedicated to Belarusian political prisoners who had to go through the things the late human rights activist Yana Paliakova refused to bear – the stench of pre-trial detention centers, the plank beds of the Akrestsina prison, days-long transportations of convicted prisoners, the solitude of overcrowded cells, the dull toil of deportation colonies, the hunger-strikes of barracks, the wasted health, homesickness and senseless cassations and, eventually, freedom, when everything seems different and hostile…

20.05.2009 Political prisoner Autukhovich returned to detention center in spite of terrible condition

Mikalai Autukhovich has been discharged from the Republican Prison Hospital on the 35th day of hunger strike.

Radio Svaboda learnt this from a physician, who told this during his traditional Wednesday meeting with relatives of prisoners.

“We a re puzzled, we don’t know why he has been sent to us. We accepted him yesterday, but we are going to send him back to the detention center as he doesn’t want to take medical aid. He says he feels OK, he has no complaints,” the doctor said.

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