News for 18 Nov 2009
18.11.2009 Authorities ignore complaint by family of missing person
16 November was the deadline for the Belarusian authorities to provide their comments on the complaint submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee by the family of the disappeared Anatol Krasouski. The complaint submitted by Iryna and Valerya Krasouskis was registered by the Committee on 16 November 2008, its copy being sent to the respondent, www.ciwr.org reports. The Belarusian authorities were initially to respond to the complaint by 16 May 2009. However, they demanded translating the document in Russian, instead, and thus received 6 more months for providing their comments. As yet, there is no reply to the complaint.
18.11.2009 Ministry of Information issues warnings to 4 newspapers
The Belarusian Ministry of Information has issued official warnings to four newspapers – Nasha niva, Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belorussi, Narodnaya volia and Va-Bank – four alleged violation of Articles 4, 34, 38 and 49 of the Law on Mass Media. The officials claim the newspapers published false information. However, the Ministry failed to provide explanations to their editors-in-chief, except for Narodnaya volia, whose journalist was charged with agitating people to take part in an unauthorized street action on the day of the forthcoming presidential election in 2011.
18.11.2009 ‘Right not to Shoot’ campaign launched
According to the UCPB’ press-service, as part of the ‘Right not to Shoot’ civil campaign, a number of Young Democrats activists, including Fiodar Maslennikau, Aliaksandr Siarheyenka and Aliaksandr Stsepanenka, distributed leaflets among students of Minsk universities, covering the issue of the alternative service and its future in Belarus. According to a preliminary public opinion poll, 56% of Minsk students have never heard of the type of service and 78% say they would like Belarusian youth to have a right to choose between the traditional and the alternative types of service.
18.11.2009 Homel Regional Court recalls fine to local activist
Judge Vasil Biahun of Homel Regional Court has ruled to reverse a 700,000-rouble fine to Valery Rybchanka, local opposition Communist leader, his civil case being sent for reconsideration at Homel Chyhunachny Court. The activist was fined for mere intent to participate in a memorial picket on 19 October. Mr. Rybchanka claims he was not taking part in the demonstration at the moment he was arrested, since he was taking photos of it.
18.11.2009 President of European Parliament: “It’s last chance for Lukashenka”
“If we see no concrete progress on the way to democratization, then the process of the EU rapprochement with Belarus should be stopped,” Jerzy Buzek stated.
In this way the president of the European Parliament commented on the decision of the Council of Europe to extend visa sanctions against Belarusian officials till October 2010 and at the same time “freeze” them.
“It must be the last chance for Lukashenka’s regime,” Jerzy Buzek is quoted by the Polish Radio as saying.
Earlier the president of the European Parliament stated that “the progress in Belarus is really very little, and we are highly concerned that there is no pronounced democratization”.