News for 21 May 2009

21.05.2009 Court demands data on trade union activists

According to www.gazetaby.com, Homel Tsentralny Court asks for detailed information on the participants of the constituent congress of the Radio-Electronic Industry Independent Trade Union’s local office, as part of the hearings concerning the refusal to register the organization by local authorities. Judge Shytsikau requires that the activists provide information on the occupation, both current and former, certified by authoritative references. According to the organization’s head Henadz Fiadynich, it is the first time the Belarusian judiciary demands similar data. ‘Courts can inquire about any kind of information, but why examine them through a magnifying glass?’ says the trade union leader.

21.05.2009 Oppositionist Paliakou to be tried for participating in Zakharanka memorial rally

Yesterday, on 20 May, Vasil Paliakou, head of UCPB Homel Regional Office, was visited by a police representative captain Shukel. According to Mr.Paliakou, the conversation looked like an interrogation, for the policeman drew up a record and later charged the Politian with violating Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code for participating in an unauthorized General Yury Zakharanka memorial picket on 7 May in front of the building of Homel regional police department. As a result, Vasil Paliakou may face a fine or an imprisonment of up to 15 days.

21.05.2009 Trial over Tamara Shchapiotkina remitted

According to RFE/RL, the independent journalist Tamara Shchapiotkina, detained by Biaroza town police during a picket on 26 April, will have to appear in court on 29 May, following her request to hear several police witnesses of the arrest. The journalist is accused of violating Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code – ‘disturbing public order during mass actions. According to the famous Brest human rights activist Raman Kisliuk, ‘the arrest is the violation of her right to free expression of opinions.’

21.05.2009 Reporters without Borders: Lukashenka playing triple game

Representatives of Reporters without Borders blame the Belarusian authorities of pressing the opposition.

Only slightly changes in the situation with freedom of media can be noticed in Belarus, representative of Representatives of Reporters Elsa Vidal said on May 20. The human rights activist thinks there are different levers of pressure upon the Belarusian ruler in this sector, but it’s “very difficult to press on Alyaksandr Lukashenka”, Deutsche Welle reports.

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