Weekly review of post-election situation in Belarus (30 May – 5 June)
The trials of the majority of figurants of
the “19 December riot” criminal case came to an end in May. 31 people were
convicted. However, there remain about 20 suspects and accused who haven't been
tried so far. Rodion Marinichev, correspondent for the Russian TV channel Dozhd,
was deported from Belarus and banned entry for 5 years. The court left in force
the official warning to the private socio-political weekly Nasha Niva.
The cassation appeal against the warning issued to the Chair of the Human
Rights Center Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, for activities on behalf
of unregistered organization, was left standing as well. The Ministry of
Justice exercises pressure on lawyers. Convicts make statements about the use
of torture during the investigation.
1. Politically motivated criminal persecution
Human rights defenders prepared a complete description of the trial of Bulanau, Hrybkou, Klaskouski, Kviatkevich, Pazniak, Statkevich and Uss. The trial lasted seven days. Seven accused in the criminal case concerning the “19 December mass riot” haven't been tried so far. Two of them, Aliaksei Mikhalevich and Natallia Radzina, have left Belarus. According to information of Ales Lukashevich, Mikhalevich's electioneering agent at the 2010 presidential election, the politician was declared wanted by the Interpol on the initiative of Belarus. 13 participants of the 19 December post-election protest rally are suspects in the case.
The authorities determined the place where the presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau will serve his prison term – Navapolatsk penal colony #10. His wife, journalist Iryna Khalip, says that the colony has a bad reputation and is located in a place with a poor ecology. She also points that according to convicts' relatives, prisoners receive a terrible treatment there.
Interrogations concerning the “19 December” criminal case continue.
2. Prison conditions
On 1 June M.Statkevich's father wasn't let to meet his son at the KGB pre-trial prison. No explanations were offered. 84-year-old Viktar Statkevich came to Minsk to see his son who had been sentenced to 6 years in a high-security colony on charges in organizing a mass riot.
Dzmitry Novik, sentenced to 3.5 years in a high-security colony for participation in the protest rally against the rigged elections, told his mother that he was pressurized in the penal colony #17 in Shklou.
The representative of the anarchist movement Ihar Alinevich stated that he had been beaten by masked men during his stay at the KGB pre-trial prison. Some traces of beating were left on his face and body. The convict composed a complaint to the Prosecutor General, but the document wasn't let out of the prison. On 27 May the Zavadski District Court of Minsk sentenced I.Alinevich to 8 years in a high-security colony.
Human rights defenders also published a brief review of the process of Belarusian anarchists. The main conclusions of this document are that gross violations of the convicts' rights give reasons to think that the trial wasn't objective and impartial, and the issued verdicts are groundless and unlawful; violations of rights of the convicts make it impossible to consider them as lawfully convicted; the verdicts that were issued in such circumstances must be abolished and reviewed.
3. Right to legal defense
On 30 May the Ministry of Justice ruled to hold an extra-schedule re-attestation of counsels. The human rights defenders view it as a means to intimidate the lawyers.
4. Persecution of human rights defenders
On 3 June A.Siamak, Deputy Chair of the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk, left standing the official warning issued by the General Procuracy to Ales Bialiatski, vice-Chair of the International Federation for Human Rights, for activities on behalf of unregistered organization (Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code). The judge didn't agree with arguments of the plaintiff and his representative Aleh Hulak (Chair of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee), and took the side of the procuracy.
5. Freedom of word
On 29 May the police detained Rodion Marynich, a correspondent with the Russian TV channel Dozhd. He was interrogated and searched at the police department. As a result, the police found the schedule of his meetings. All video recordings made by the journalist were erased. R.Marynichev was deported from Belarus with a five-year ban to enter Belarus.
On 30 May the Supreme Economic Court didn't grant the appeal of the editorial board of Nasha Niva against the warning that had been issued to it by the Ministry of Information on 14 April. The editorial board can appeal the court verdict within a month's term. If the warning is left in force, the process of the closure of the newspaper can be continued by the Ministry of Information.
The regional independent website of the Barysau district, ex-press.by, established by journalists of the socio-political edition Kur'yer z Barysav that had been closed before the presidential elections 2006, is evicted from the rented office. On 2 June the landlord ordered them to vacate the premises they had rented for 18 months.
6. Freedom of peaceful assemblies
On 31 May the presentation of the new book by Uladzimir Matskevich Don't Think about Red and Blind Platypus was to have taken place in the Dobryia Mysli cafe. However, 20 minutes before the beginning of the presentation its workers apologized and said they had received a telephone call from the Minsk City Executive Committee banning them to host the presentation. As a result, the event was urgently transferred to another place.
7. Labor rights
The labor contract wasn't extended to a teacher of music Katsiaryna Kastusiova, daughter of the presidential candidate Ryhor Kastusiou. She was a member of the electoral team of his father during the elections. The former candidate believes that the daughter was fired because of his political activities.
Nastassia Zianko, a staff correspondent for the state-owned newspaper Zviazda, wasn't employed by the edition after graduation from the university. The application for her employment by the newspaper was revoked. The matter is that in December 2010 the girl had observed the presidential elections at the polling station located in her dormitory. Her dean, Siarhei Dubovik, was very surprised at seeing her among independent observers. At present N.Zanko composes a complaint against the unlawful actions of the assigning commission. She is going to file this document with the State Control Committee, the Department for the Control of the Quality of Education and the UN Human Rights Committee.
8. Activities of security services
The Homel KGB Department have lost the telephone of the local human rights defender Anatol Paplauny that had been confiscated during a search. According to the human rights defender, the KGB officer Marynich made him sign that he had no pretensions to the KGB. The lost mobile phone is not the first thing lost by the KGB. In particular, they have also “lost” the rotator dating back to the times of Solidarnosc, owned by the Homel Socio-political Center located in Paleskaya Street,52.
Human Rights Chronicle