News for May 2011
20.05.2011 More verdicts in 19 December 2010 trials
Judge Znaha Zhukouskaya of Minsk Frunzenski District Court pronounced verdicts to seven persons involved in the 19 December 2010 post-election events.
20.05.2011 The Human Rights Center Viasna’s evaluation of the trials in the criminal cases on the events of December 19, 2010
CONCLUSIONS: # The events of 19 December 2010 were the result of the unjust and undemocratic presidential election in Belarus, which were not recognized as compliant with the relevant international standards for free elections, and which were accompanied by numerous violations. # The march along Independence Avenue and the rally on Independence Square were peaceful, since the participants had peaceful intentions to express their views and protest in connection with these election. # Although the rally on Kastrychnitskaya Square and the march along Independence Avenue did cause some inconvenience for the city residents, nevertheless they did not pose any threat to the public order, life and health of citizens. # The behavior of some individuals who were especially active outside the Government House, were offending in their nature, but neither were stopped by the police, nor isolated. # The duration of the wrongdoing, the number of persons involved in it and the amount of damage do not suggest that there was a mass riot on Independence Square and, consequently, the participation of prosecuted persons in the riot. # The police reactions to disperse the peaceful assembly on Independence Square were completely disproportionate to the nature and were accompanied by ungrounded violence toward the demonstrators. # The preliminary investigation of the events of 19 December 2010 was accompanied by serious human rights violations, including: violation of the right to protection, violation of the presumption of innocence, the use of non-procedural actions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that humiliate human dignity. # The trials were of predetermined character and accusatory in their nature. # These trials reiterated the full dependence of the judicial system in Belarus on the executive branch, while the pressure and the Ministry of Justice’s denial of licenses to a number of lawyers involved in the case indicate the absence of an independent institute of advocacy. # These circumstances indicate the convicts’ lack of access to a fair and independent trial. # The progress of the preliminary investigation and the trials in the criminal cases clearly demonstrates their political nature.
19.05.2011 Anarchists convicted for arson of KGB Babruisk office
Activists of Belarusian anarchist movement Yauhen Vaskovich, Pavel Syramolatau and Artsiom Prakapenka have been found guilty of committing an arson attack on the KGB building in the town of Babruisk and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony each.
19.05.2011 Political scientist Yury Chavusau searched at Lithuanian border
Several books and magazines about politics and human rights have been confiscated from him.
19.05.2011 Young Front leader appeals detention conditions
Ivan Shyla, deputy leader of the Young Front youth opposition movement, has lodged a complaint with the Interior Minister and Minsk police chief against detention conditions at the city’s detention center at Akrestsin Street.
19.05.2011 Homel activists appeal peaceful assembly ban
United Civil Party Homel activists keep appealing executive restrictions on holding rallies enforced by the city authorities, after Homel officials banned a picket on 23 February.
18.05.2011 Police disrupts action against homophobia in Minsk
Activists of LGBT movement planned to conduct this action together with "Young Assembly" activists in Minsk.
18.05.2011 Anarchist Mikalaj Dziadok claims there was pressure from investigators
Activists of the anarchist movement Maxim Vetkin and Yauhen Selivonchyk admit guilt partly. Alinevich, Dziadok and Frantskevich plead not guity.
18.05.2011 No punishment for a broken arm
Yan Lahvinovich, who brutally beaten by police on the Square, filed a complaint to a prosecutor’s office in January asking to open a criminal case over his beating.
18.05.2011 Analytical review of the trial of Pavel Seviarynets, Siarhei Martseleu and Iryna Khalip
Conclusions: - The trial failed to provide any evidence of an offence under Par. 1 Art. 342 of the Criminal Code, i.e. direct involvement in gross violation of the public order during the protest, as well as any criminal intent to stage the alleged actions by the defendants. Nor did the trial provide any evidence of the damage allegedly inflicted by the defendants to any institutions or enterprises. In reality, none of the institutions or enterprises mentioned in the case file initiated legal proceedings to recover the reported damage in court. - No evidence of the defendants’ involvement in any unlawful actions committed on 19 December 2010 in Nezalezhnastsi Square was provided. - Defendants Seviarynets, Martseleu and Khalip, while in custody in the KGB pre-trial prison, were not provided with the sufficient amount of meetings with their lawyers during the preliminary investigation into the case. We consider the fact to be an outrage against their right to legal protection, guaranteed by Art. 62 of the Belarusian Constitution, together with a number of provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedures. Seviarynets’s and Khalip’s lawyers were dismissed during the preliminary investigation stage, having faced harassment by the Ministry of Justice, and were eventually disbarred. - The public media (the Sovetskaya Belorussia newspaper, state-run TV channels) repeatedly named the defendants organizers of the riot outside the House of Government long before the start of the trial, violating the defendants’ presumption of innocence. - The publication of the preliminary investigation materials before its termination, and the announcement of the defendants’ guilt in the Sovetskaya Belorussia were made by order of the President, which is an evidence of the political nature of the criminal case and emphasizes the accusatory essence of both the preliminary investigation and the trial.
17.05.2011 Andrzej Poczobut enters motion for termination of criminal case
Journalist Andrzej Poczobut, facing charges for insult and libel of President Lukashenka, has lodged a motion for dismissal of the criminal case due to lack of corpus delicti, says the reporter’s lawyer Aliaksandr Birylau.
17.05.2011 Election aftermath in Barysau
Three Barysau residents are still unable to find jobs after they were fired in the aftermath of the 2010 presidential election.
17.05.2011 Yauheny Lipkovich fined 525,000 rubles
A famous blogger was punished for “insulting” the head of the Belarusian Union of writers, General Mikalai Charhinets.
17.05.2011 Pinsk resident fined for resisting fingerprinting
Pinsk resident Andrei Asavets has been fined BYR 700 for resisting compulsory fingerprinting, after he demanded to provide official grounds for the examination, the Vecherniy Brest newspaper reports.
17.05.2011 Stanislau Shushkevich summoned to KGB
The first head of independent Belarus is to appear in the KGB today. He will go there with a lawyer.