News for 28 Oct 2009

Viasna issues statement on death sentences to Vasil Yuzepchuk and Andrei Zhuk

28.10.2009 Viasna issues statement on death sentences to Vasil Yuzepchuk and Andrei Zhuk

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has considered the appeals by Vasil Yuzepchuk (against the verdict by Brest Regional Court of 29 June 2009) and Andrei Zhuk (against the verdict by Minsk Regional Court of 29 June 2009) and resolved to uphold the decisions, thereby legalizing both the sentences. Belarusian human rights activists have expressed their deep concern over the possible execution of the death penalties. According to the convicts’ legal advisors, the verdict by Brest Regional Court was based on conjectures, resulting from evidence by the police, with no direct proofs at all. Mr. Yuzepchuk was reportedly beaten while in pre-trial prison and the traumas were registered. Apart from that, according to a report by a board of experts, the convict has a light mental deficiency. Therefore, the human rights activists have a strong doubt that the death penalty is too severe and groundless punishment. There are several extenuating circumstances: Andrei Zhuk admitted his guilt, cooperated with the investigators and repented of the offence.

No changes on gender front

28.10.2009 No changes on gender front

The World Economic Forum has released its annual Global Gender Gap Report, placing Belarus 34th (as compared to the 33th rank last year) among 115 countries covered in the report. The Report examines four critical areas of inequality between men and women in 130 economies around the globe, over 92% of the world’s population: 1. Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment 2. Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education 3. Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures 4. Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

Militia didn’t answer to BAJ appeal over attack on journalists

28.10.2009 Militia didn’t answer to BAJ appeal over attack on journalists

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) hasn’t received an answer to its appeal concerning the events on September 16, though the deadline was on October 23.

BAJ head Zhanna Litvina told journalists would wait for a reply for a day.

“We haven’t got an official response. Maybe, it was sent on the final day, it may have taken more time because of the weekend. We are waiting until tomorrow,” Litvina told in an interview to Euroradio.

We remind that on September 16, officers of the law enforcement agencies used physical force to hinder journalist of Belarusian and foreign media to perform their professional duties. This happened during a picket of memory of politician Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski, disappeared 10 years ago.

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