The case of the Coordinating Council is a new attack on the civil society of Belarus Updated
The attack of the Belarusian security forces on the members of the Coordinating Council resembles the events of 2021 in its scale. Since November 28, more than a hundred searches have happened in the country at the place of residence and registration of CC participants, and a criminal case has been opened.
On the morning of November 28, human rights activists of Viasna began documenting information about mass searches in Minsk and other cities. The persecution of people associated with the Coordinating Council is reported by pro-government Telegram channels — they called it "a preliminary stage of preparation for the elections to the Coordinating Council."
What are the accusations against the main representative body of the Belarusian society?
Search warrants were issued under six articles of the Criminal Code:
• treason to the state (Article 356 of the Criminal Code);
• conspiracy or other actions with the aim of seizing state power (Article 357 of the Criminal Code);
• calls for restrictive measures (sanctions), other actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus (Article 361 of the Criminal Code);
• creation of an extremist formation or participation in it (Article 361-1);
• financing of extremist activities (Article 361-2 of the Criminal Code)
• promotion of extremist activity (Article 361-4 of the Criminal Code).
What is known about the scale of repression?
At the beginning, the Investigative Committee of Belarus stated that over a hundred persons were suspects in the "case of elections to the Coordinating Council". This figure changed several times during the week. One of the pro-government channels reported that about 200 searches were conducted throughout the country.
But Hennadz Kazakevich, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and head of the criminal police, said on Sunday that in the case of the Coordinating Council they had conducted more than 130 searches.
"Over the past week, we have conducted more than 130 searches and confiscated property from members of the so-called Coordinating Council created by Tsikhanouskaya 145 times," Kazakevich said.
The search orders were sanctioned by the prosecutor's office a week before the events
The search orders in the Coordinating Council case were signed by Deputy Prosecutor General Siarhei Khmaruk.
It should be noted that he did this on November 20, i. e. 8 days before the start of the searches.
Khmaruk is a native of Ukraine, who has been working in the prosecutor's office system since 1994. In 2021, he was appointed Deputy Prosecutor General. He worked for several years in the prosecutor's office in Orša.
Human rights defenders do not have enough information yet
Today, human rights activists know only a few names of those who were searched in this case. These are:
Inform human rights defenders about detentions and searches in the Coordinating Council case. We collect and preserve the facts of persecution, which is especially important in the current conditions. If you want to, your information may remain non-public and will not be published in open sources.