News for June 2015
30.06.2015 Mikalai Autukhovich beats off security services' accusations of foreign currency speculations
The Hrodna regional court closed the case against the activist and former political prisoner in connection with trump-up accusations of foreign currency exchange.
30.06.2015 Pavel Sapelka: “There are legal mechanisms to release Statkevich”
According to Pavel Sapelka, lawyer at the Human Rights Center "Viasna", political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich cannot be amnestied, however, saying that Statkevich has to write a petition so that Lukashenka could release him is wrong, because according to the existing legislation, Mikalai Statkevich can not only be released without any petitions but also returned to political life.
30.06.2015 Presidential elections to be held on October 11
On Tuesday the House of Representatives appointed the date for the presidential elections - October 11.
30.06.2015 Salihorsk District Council refuses to lift peaceful assembly restrictions
The Presidium of the Salihorsk District Council of Deputies has not granted a request of Leanid Markhotka, local representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, to abolish illegal restrictions on street protests imposed by the district executive committee. The human rights activist is going to write to the Minsk Regional Council of Deputies.
30.06.2015 Persecution of freelance journalists – $7,067 for state budget
Since the beginning of 2015, there were 21 administrative cases against freelance journalists who faced charges under Part. 2, Art. 22.9 of the Administrative Code – “Illegal production and (or) distribution of media products.” In each case, there was a court decision to impose a fine of 3.6 to 9 mln rubles.
29.06.2015 Journalist in Mahilioŭ complains to UN Human Rights Committee
“On June 28, I sent my complaint together with appendices – more than 30 pages in total. Human rights defenders Barys Bukhel and Leanid Sudalenka helped me prepare it, I am very grateful for that,” says Ales Burakou, a freelance journalist in Mahilioŭ.
29.06.2015 Yury Rubtsou speaks of Baranavichy isolation ward: We are fed like pigs
Almost a month ago, May 29, Homel activist Yury Rubtsou, famous for his public call for Lukashenka's dismissal, was sentenced to 2 additional years of deprivation of liberty. The trial was conducted in Pruzhany, but he is still kept in Baranavichy remand prison, as his cassation appeal is not considered yet, before the trial Rubtsou was on hunger strike for a month.
29.06.2015 Court in Biaroza says demand to release political prisoners is call for extremism, war and violence
Human rights activists in Biaroza asked to overturn a ban imposed on a Freedom Day picket by the district executive committee. The picket was expected to mark the 97th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic, as well as to demand the release of political prisoners.
29.06.2015 State-run press distribution agency in Baranavičy keeps rejecting independent newspaper
The editorial office of a Baranavičy-based private newspaper Intex-Press has not been allowed to sign a contract for use of the government-owned newspaper delivery system Brestablsajuzdruk.
26.06.2015 Homieĺ priests threatened with criminal charges under Article 193.1
The house of Siarhei Nikalayenka, pastor of the Homieĺ-based religious community “Church of God Transfiguration”, as well as the apartment of his deputy Aliaksandr Chuyeu, has been searched by police officers. The raid reportedly dealt with the preliminary investigation of the criminal case under Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code (activities on behalf of unregistered organization).
26.06.2015 “Viasna” activists join campaign against torture
Activists of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” have joined a campaign against torture, initiated by the Russian NGO “Committee against Torture”.
26.06.2015 Prison officials limit Mikalai Dziadok’s meetings with lawyer
On June 25, Mikalai Dziadok’s meeting with his lawyer lasted only 15 minutes. The rest of the time allocated for the counsel’s visit to prison was taken by the preparation of papers, accommodating the lawyer in the visiting room and waiting for the political prisoner. This is not the first time that the duration of Mikalai Dziadok’s communication with the counsel is severely limited.
26.06.2015 Pavel Sapelka: Torture is often a hidden problem in Belarus
In 1997, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. On this day, international and national human rights organizations remind once again that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
26.06.2015 US Department of State about Belarus: Political arrests, abuses, corruption
The US Department of State has launched an annual report on human rights conditions in different countries.
25.06.2015 Belarusian volunteers expand work to Lviv
The Human Rights Humanitarian Mission in Ukraine, which was initiated by the Human Rights Center "Viasna", has started its work in Lviv. The Belarusian human rights activists, led by Uladzimir Vialichkin, should establish cooperation with local non-governmental organizations.