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Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations in Belarus in March 2012

2012 2012-04-13T17:17:28+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations

Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations

In March, the human rights situation was strongly dependent on the developments in the foreign policy. The unresolved issue of political prisoners increased the confrontation between the Belarusian authorities and the European Union: the reluctance of the official Minsk to eliminate the root cause of the conflict faced a tough and consistent position of the EU.

As a result of the lack of positive developments by 23 March the EU decided to expand the targeted sanctions: visa restrictions were imposed on 12 persons, including judges, prosecutors and businessmen who were either responsible for human rights abuses and repression against the opposition and civil society in Belarus or ware beneficiaries of the current regime. The sanctions were also imposed on 29 companies belonging to such beneficiaries.

 "The actions of the European Union must convince the authorities of Belarus of the need to release political prisoners and return to the path of constructive relations with the EU states" – said EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

Commenting on the decision of the EU Council, spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Andrei Savinykh said: "Such a step further alienates the prospects of normalization of relations and restoration of dialog on sensitive issues for the parties." Thus, the official Minsk outlined its position concerning the escalation of the conflict.

Still, the fate of political prisoners remained unchanged: all 15 prisoners were still kept in jail. No decisions have been taken concerning the petitions for clemency filed by Andrei Sannikau and Dzmitry Bandarenka. In response to the "list of banned in the European Union" the authorities composed a "list of restricted to leave Belarus," illegally restricting the freedom of movement of opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists. Death convicts Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau were executed with a demonstrative disregard for national and international protection mechanisms. Cases of illegal and arbitrary detentions and arrests of political and public activists with bringing to administrative responsibility for wire-drawn reasons were registered throughout the month. The situation remained unsatisfactory with respect to freedom of assembly: all applications for holding street actions in Belarus were rejected with the exception of the Freedom Day rally on 25 March in Minsk.


Political prisoners, politically motivated criminal prosecution

The situation of Siarhei Kavalenka, Vitsebsk member of the Conservative-Christian Party Belarusian Popular Front, remained critical, too. Since December, he had been keeping hunger-strike to protest against unjust imprisonment and punishment. After three months of the hunger strike he lost over 30 kilos of weight, his body temperature kept within 35 degrees C. Kavalenka started having problems with the kidneys and became almost immobile. At the end of February he was transferred to Minsk prison #1 in Valadarski Street and forcibly put under a dropper there. In the night of 25-26 March he was transferred to the psychiatric department of the prison hospital with the aim of enforced withdrawal from the hunger-strike. On 30 March the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Human Rights Center "Viasna" urged the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Siarhei Kavalenka, to stop his prosecution and provide him with the necessary and urgent medical care in an open medical facility. "The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, at the disposal of which Siarhei Kavalenka is, bears full responsibility for his life and health", noted human rights activists.

On 13 March it became known that the Commission on Presidential Pardon considered the petitions for pardon filed by the former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau and his electioneering agent Dzmitry Bandarenka. However, a member of the commission Mikalai Samaseika refused to disclose the decision. On 21 March at the site of the Prosecutor General it was reported that an inspection was being conducted concerning some statements in the media that Sannikau had written the clemency petition under pressure. "Now the materials are being carefully studied. After the compilation and preparation of appropriate conclusions, they will be directed to the Pardon Commission under the President of the Republic of Belarus, which will consider them in accordance with its rules of work," reads the statement. The situation with the consideration of the petitions of Andrei Sannikau and Dzmitry Bandarenka once again reaffirmed that decision on their cases depends solely on the president and the political relations between the official Minsk and the EU.

On 2 March the interdepartmental scientific expert committee had a sitting at the National Scientific and Practical Center of Medical Examination and Rehabilitation in Haradzishcha (the Minsk district). The committee refused to declare Dzmitry Bandarenka disabled despite the difficult state of his health. This means that the prisoner will have to work on an equal footing with other prisoners.

On 5 March, during the discussion of the Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders held at the UN Human Rights Council, the authorities of Belarus made an oral statement made concerning the case of Ales Bialiatski. The representative of Belarus said: "We regret to say that the speaker could not discriminate in the case of Aliaksandr Bialiatski, apparently succumbing to stereotypical view, which is spread by particular European institutions and human rights NGOs. The verdict ... has nothing to do with the human rights work of Bialiatski and is related exclusively to the breach of tax laws ... "

On 22 March Ales Bialiatski was transferred from the quarantine of penal colony #2 in Babruisk, where he was put at the end of February, to a prison brigade, and sent to work in the sewing industry.

On 25 March in Oslo the Norwegian Union of Writers awarded A. Bialiatski with the prize ""For the freedom of speech." This prize is awarded for special contribution to the protection of freedom of speech and tolerance. The diploma was received by the wife of the imprisoned human rights activist, Natallia Pinchuk.

On 14 March it became known that Dzmitry Dashkevich was placed in solitary confinement in Hlybokaye penal colony for the third consecutive 30-day term, due to "the failure to implement claims of the administration." Even his lawyer didn't manage to find about the real reasons for imposing the penalty.

In a letter received by a former lawyer Pavel Sapelka, political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich expressed concern about the spread of untrue information on the Internet concerning his alleged phone call from jail to his mother. According to Mr. Autukhovich, as a result of these publications he and other prisoners were subject to a search which lasted several hours. Autukhovich asked journalists to be more careful while writing about political prisoners not to do harm to them.

The administration of Mahiliou penal colony #15 registered the 7th violation on the part of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok during his stay in the solitary confinement cell (on 12-17 March). For this he was deprived of the food parcel he could receive in May 2012.

On 15 March Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk established a preventive supervision for a period of 1 year for former political prisoner Uladzimir Yaromenak who had been sentenced to 3 years of jail within the frames of the "mass riot" case and pardoned in August 2011. Preventive surveillance was carried out towards Mr. Yaromenak since his release. After he was thrice punished for participation in mass events, a preventive supervision was established over him.


Death penalty

In the evening of 13 March it was stated on TV that Aliaksandr Lukashenka refused to pardon Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, sentenced to death on 30 November 2011 on charges of committing a terrorist act in the Minsk subway on 11 April 2011. The sentence was carried out on 15 March. On 16 March the Supreme Court sent an appropriate notice to relatives of the executed.

The extremely fast execution was in violation of national and international mechanisms of protection, with a demonstrated disregard for national laws and international treaties ratified by the Republic of Belarus.

Dzmitry Kanavalau did not file a supervisory appeal and refused to file a petition for clemency, whereas Uladzislau Kavaliou tried to use all possible means of protection.

On 15 March, the day when the sentence was executed, Kavaliou's lawyer filed the main supervisory complaint. The preliminary supervisory complaint was directed to the Chairman of the Supreme Court on 7 December 2011. There it was stated that the main complaint would be passed too, that's why the lawyer asked to suspend the execution of the sentence till its consideration. However, the appeal was ignored, and therefore it can be argued that the convicted person was deprived of the constitutional right to protection at the national level.

Implementation of the death penalty was another breach of Belarus's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its First Optional Protocol thereto, as far as the Belarusian side has ignored the requirement of the UN Human Rights Committee to suspend the implementation until consideration on the merits of the individual communication filed by Uladzislau Kavaliou.

On 20 March Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who personally refused to pardon U. Kavaliou and Dz. Kanavalau, stated that he sympathized the families of the shot.

On 22 March Uladzislau Kavaliou's mother sent a letter to Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the request to give her son's body so that she could bury it. As the Belarusian legislation does not provide for such a procedure, a positive decision on this issue is unlikely. On the same day she received by mail a package from the KGB detention center, in which there were her son's things, clothes and even the food which he didn't have time to eat. However, his mother wasn't given the records he was making during the trial and asked the relatives to retain obligatory.

European parliamentarians, the Council of Europe and a number of influential international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, FIDH and Human Rights House Foundation, strongly condemned the execution of Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, demanding that Lukashenka immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty.


Enforced disappearances

On 28 March Sviatlana Zavadskaya, Siarhei Bakhun and Raman Kisliak made a proposal to the Council of Ministers of Belarus to sign the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to instruct the Minister of Foreign Affairs to introduce the bill to the parliament for its ratification. According to them, the accession to the Convention of Belarus would demonstrate the state's desire to ensure the protection of its citizens against enforced disappearances that took place in the country: On 7 May 1999 a former interior minister Yury Zakharanka was forcibly abducted, on 16 September 1999 it happened to politician Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski, on 7 July 2000 – to the cameraman of ORT TV channel Dzmitry Zavadski.


Torture and cruel treatment

On 4 March the deputy chairman of the "Young Front" Ivan Shyla was released after serving 19 days of arrest at the delinquents' isolation center in Minsk. During the first day of arrest Ivan suffered from allergy, but his request to call an ambulance were ignored. The local doctor could not help due to lack of necessary medications. As a result, the skin on Ivan's face got swollen and cracked, and his arms were covered with red spots. The 20-year-old guy also got ill with bronchitis because of the squeeze, high humidity and temperature fluctuations in the prison cell. The medicines he took during the imprisonment didn't help him recover from the illness. There were rats and lice in the cell.

On 27 March activists of "Human Rights Defenders against Torture" addressed the UN Special Rapporteur on torture with a request for an urgent investigation into acts of torture against political prisoner Dzmitry Bandarenka. The authors of the complaint point at the terrible state of health of Mr. Bandarenka after the spine surgery, conducted in September 2011 and the impossibility to carry out the necessary rehabilitation procedures in prison. The complaint listed the cases when Dz. Bandarenka was forced to perform actions which could affect his health and even lead to loss of the ability to move (standing, walking in formation, prolonged sitting and the load on the spine.) The refusal to diagnose Mr. Bandarenka with disability was mentioned, too. The UN Special Rapporteur was sent the appropriate medical records.

On 30 March Alena Dubovik, detained during a concert in the Culture Palace of Minsk Tractor Plant on 24 March and subsequently sentenced to 3 days of arrest, appealed the unlawful use of physical violence by the riot police and the incarceration conditions in the delinquents' isolation center to the prosecutor's office. "Officers of the delinquents' isolation center constantly used obscene language in their talk. On my arrival to the center I was examined by a male officer. I was placed in a cell with 8 people. There were no sleeping places. We weren't provided with bedclothes and mattresses," she wrote.


Politically motivated restrictions on freedom of movement

Against the backdrop of the deepening political crisis and the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the EU and Belarus, the extension of the list of the Belarusian officials and businessmen who are prohibited to enter the EU countries, the Belarusian authorities resorted to imposing unlawful foreign travel restrictions on a part of oppositional politicians, human rights defenders and journalists.

In his interview to the TV channel "Russia Today" Aliaksandr Lukashenka confirmed that this decision is politically motivated. Being asked whether such list has been created, Lukashenka answered: "We have composed it, but haven't introduced it yet to the full extent, but will do it". He accused the opposition of inciting the West to impose sanctions against Belarusian officials, businessmen and companies: "It is them who provide the West with the surnames, organizations and enterprises and insist on imposing economic sanctions".

By the end of March there were 15 persons on the list:

Politicians: 1. Viktar Ivashkevich, a representative of the organizing committee of the party "Belarusian Movement"; 2. Siarhei Kaliakin, the head of the Belarusian Leftist Party "Fair World"; 3. Viktar Karniyenka, coordinator of the initiative "For Fair Elections"; 4. Anatol Liabedzka, the head of the United Civil Party; 5. Stanislau Shushkevich, former head of the Supreme Soviet of the 12th convocation; 6. Valery Ukhnaliou, deputy head of the "Fair World" Party 7. Vintsuk Viachorka, a representative of the organizing committee of the party "Belarusian Movement".

Human rights defenders: 1.Andrei Bandarenka, the head of the informational-educational institution "Platform"; 2. Hary Pahaniaila, the lawyer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee; 3. Aleh Hulak, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee; 4. Valiantsin Stefanovich, the deputy head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"; 5. Aleh Volchak, the head of the "Legal Assistance to Population".

Journalists: 1. Andrei Dynko, the editor-in-chief of "Nasha Niva", 2. Zhanna Litvina, the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists; 3. Mikhail Yanchuk, a journalist for "BelSat".

At the same time, the deputy head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yury Liancheuski denied the political implication of the travel bans while answering questions in his answer to the information agency "Interfax-Zapad". "The law about the entry and exit clearly states who may be restricted to travel. There was no extension in connection with new political or any other reasons", said the official.

It should be noted that on 1 March Pavel Radzivonau, the head of the Department for supervision over the execution of laws and legality of legal acts of the Office of Prosecutor General, stated that foreign travel restrictions could be imposed on the opposition members who called for introducing sanctions against Belarus, while on 12 March he publicly stated that the Office of Prosecutor General had no information about putting representatives of the opposition on the list of restricted to travel abroad.

The first applications to the departments of Citizenship and Migration revealed the true reasons for the foreign travel restrictions. They fully confirmed the opinion that these restrictions weren't based on any laws. For example the 38-year-old Andrei Dynko was a senior lieutenant in the reserve, that's why the stated reason for the limitation of the right to movement - failure to attend the measures connected the call-up to the army – was a legal nonsense. The vice-head of the HRC "Viasna" and the head of the "Platform" Andrei Bandarenka were banned to leave Belarus for the same reason.

Another absurd pretext were civil cases, in which public activists figure either as debtors or defendants. Such cases were used to limit the right to movement for Aleh Hulak and Hary Pahaniaila from the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhana Litvina.


Administrative prosecution of social and political activists, arbitrary detentions

On 2 March activist of the campaign "Tell the Truth" Aliaksandr Artsybashau was to have been released after 10 days of arrest. However, he was urgently taken to court and received 7 more days of arrest for participation in the action "Horse radish from President". This was accidentally discovered by his friend Mikhail Pashkevich. who was waiting for him near the delinquents' isolation center. Aliaksandr Artsybashau had been detained on 22 February at Maskouski District Court of Minsk and sentenced to 10 days of arrest for taking part in an unsanctioned rally "Toys protest!" in Nezalezhnasts Square in Minsk.

On 10 March Anatol Askerka and Ivan Shutko, detained on 9 March, were tried at Barysau District Court. Judge Herasimovich sentenced Askerka to 15 days of arrest, and Shutko – to 10 days of arrest for holding an action dated to the birthday of political prisoner Andrei Sannikau, 8 March.

On 11 March Ihar Askerka, son of the arrested Anatol Askerka, was detained for standing near Barysau District Court with posters in support of his father and political prisoners. On 12 March Iryna Pasiuk, Judge of Barysau District Court, sentenced him to 10 days of arrest.

On 11 March the trial of "Young Front" activists Zmitser Kramianetski, Mikhas Muski, Raman Vasilyeu and Uladzimir Yaromenak, detained on 7 March, took place. All of them were found guilty under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (participation in an unauthorized mass event) and sentenced to 15 days of arrest for participation in the 29 February performance near the Belarusian MFA, during which rolls of toilet paper were thrown at the ministry's building.

On 13 March, Maskouski District Court of Minsk sentenced the activist of the campaign "Tell the Truth" Pavel Vinahradau to 7 days of arrest under Article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, "disorderly conduct". Vinahradau had been detained on 2 March, on his release from the delinquents' isolation center after a 10-day arrest, and charged with using obscene language near the "Kirmash" shop. The trial started on 5 March, but Vinahradau was released till trial as Judge Khatkevich sent the police report back to Maskouski District Police Department, for a review.

On 16 March, Savetski District Court of Minsk sentenced the activist of "Zmena" Uladzimir Bachyla to 10 days of arrest under Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (organization of an unauthorized mass event). The police report against another activist, Artsiom Kuzmin, was returned for review at Savetski District Police Department. The trials concerned the action held near the city philharmonic on 14 March, during which activists placed portraits of Muammar Gaddafi, Vladimir Putin, Leonid Kuchma and Aliaksandr Lukashenka, signed "To the dustbin of history."

On 16 March a leader of the Belarusian National-Bolsheviks Yauhen Kontush was detained at a protest action near the Embassy of China in Minsk and placed in the delinquents' isolation center. The action, which was attended by five people, was directed against the Chinese investment projects that violate the rights of citizens of Belarus, including the felling of the park named after the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution. The protesters scattered leaflets and lit a firework.

On 19 March eight people were detained by police while laying flowers to the memorial plaque to victims of the terrorist act of 11 April 2011. All of them were guarded to Tsentralny District Police Department of Minsk. There the police put down their personal data, made photos, took fingerprints and released them without giving any charges.

On 20 March an activist of "European Belarus" Alena Semenchukova was detained for holding a poster "Freedom to Siarhei Kavalenka!" in the center of Vitsebsk. She was charged with violating Article 23.34 of the CAO and levied with a fine by Alena Tsyhankova, Judge of Chyhunachny District Court of Vitsebsk.

In the evening of 21 March an activist of "European Belarus" Mikita Kavalenka was groundlessly detained in the Minsk metro. before that, he bought tickets for the train to Kalinkavichy. At the police department he was cynically proposed to choose the charges which would be put in the offense report: either Article 23.34 (participation in an unauthorized mass event) or 17.1 (disorderly conduct). Eventually, the police chose the second variant. On 22 March M. Kavalenka was sentenced to 6 days of arrest by Tsentralny District Court of Minsk.

In the evening of 22 March riot policemen detained the activists of "Young Front" Mikalai Dzemidzenka and Raman Pratasevich near the delinquents' isolation center in Minsk, where they and other people were meeting the four "Young Front" members who had served 15-day arrest - Zmitser Kramianetski, Mikhail Muski, Raman Vasilyeu and Uladzimir Yaromenak. The detainees were taken to Maskouski District Police Department. Mr. Pratasevich was released without getting any charges, whereas Mikalai Dzemidzenka was charged with disorderly conduct (Article 17.1). On 23 March Yury Sezin, Judge of the Maskouski District Court of Minsk, sentenced him to 10 days of arrest.

On 23 March, Maskouski District Court of Minsk considered the administrative case against activists of "Revolution through Social Networks Anastasiya Mikhail Kostka and Anastasiya Shuleika. They were found guilty under Article. 23.34 of the CAO for raising a white-red-white flag in the shopping center "Stalitsa", and sentenced to 5 days of arrest. The sentence was delivered by Judge Tatsiana Motyl.

On 24 March more than 100 participants of a concert, organized by the international movement of "Food Not Bombs" at the Culture Palace of Minsk Tractor Plant were detained. Girls were taken to Partyzanski District Police Department of Minsk, boys – to Tsentralny District Police Department. Most of them were released without getting any charges. 15 boys and 1 girl were charged with disorderly conduct and placed in the delinquents' isolation center till trial. One of them, Ihar Trukhanovich, severely beaten during the detention, was hospitalized with a light cranial trauma. On 26 March the detainees were tried at Partyzanski and Tsentralny district courts of Minsk. Partyzanski District Court sentenced Alena Dubovik to 3 days of arrest. The following sentences were given at Tsentralny District Court:

1. Pavel Bialanau - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Yakunchykhin;

2. Pavel Dziarkach - fined 4 basic units by Judge Yasinovich;

3. Uladzimir Dzmitrakou - fined 5 basic units by Judge Yakunchykhin;

4. Pavel Hrynevich - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Maiseichyk;

5. Dzmitry Hurau - fined 2 basic units by Judge Tkachova;

6. Zmitser Kharlanchuk - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Tserashkou;

7. Aliaksandr Pedash - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Khadanovich;

8. Yauhen Rubashka - fined 5 basic units by Judge Semak;

9. Andrei Stsiapanau - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Shabunia;

10. Ye. Tsykunenka - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Bychko;

11. A. Vasilenka - sentenced to 2 days of arrest by Judge Vaitsiakhovich;

12. Mikita Ulasenka - fined 5 basic units by Judge Yasinovich;

13. Yauhen Ulasenka - fined 4 basic units by Judge Vaitsiakhovich;

14. Aliaksandr Yarashevich - fined three basic units by Judge Svistunova.

On 26 March the cases of Mikhail Narushevich and Zmitser Pshenik, detained for an attempt to hang out a white-red-white flag, were considered at Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk. The defendants were found guilty of participation in an unauthorized mass event and fined 2 basic units each. They were kept at the delinquents' isolation center during the night before the trial.

In the night of 27-28 March policemen set the coordinator of "European Belarus" Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, the head of the Belarusian Leftist Party "Fair World" Siarhei Kaliakin and the head of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka off the train Minsk-Moscow. The reason for the detention was anonymous information about the trafficking of drugs in the carriage. However, later the oppositionists were charged with disorderly conduct and detained till trial. The trial was held on 29 March at Orsha City and District Court. Judge Natallia Baitsova levied the detainees with fines of 10 basic units. The activists weren't returned their passports after the trial. Atroshchankau, Kaliakin and Liabedzka travelled to Moscow in order to fly to Brussels, where they had a meeting with representatives of the European Commission.

On 29 March human rights defender Valery Shchukin was detained at the trial of Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, Siarhei Kaliakin and Anatol Liabedzka in Orsha. Demanding an open trial, he laid down on the floor in the doorway of the court room to prevent the closing of the doors. Mr. Shchukin was charged with disorderly conduct and insubordination to lawful demands of police officers. The detainee spent one night in custody. On 30 March Judge Tatsiana Rybakova fined him 4 basic units for disorderly conduct and 30 basic units – for insubordination.


Restrictions on freedom of speech

On 14 March an officer of Shklou inter-district KGB department paid a visit to the shop of Bialynichy-based entrepreneur, democratic activist Aleh Miatselitsa. He asked the activist about the low-circulation editions which were distributed through the shop, trying to find where such newspapers as "Pakhodina", "Rehiyon" and "Mahiliouski Vybar" were received from.

On 19 March, Brest Regio Prosecutor's Office issued an official warning "About the inadmissibility of law violations" to Dzmitry Kisel, a correspondent for Radio "Racyja". According to the warning, signed by deputy prosecutor A. Tachko, as a result of the study of information posted on the Internet it was found that D. Kisialiou violated "the rules of professional activity of journalists of foreign media on the territory of the Republic of Belarus". It is also stated that journalists are prohibited to work for foreign media without receiving accreditation, whereas the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus didn't issue such accreditation to Mr. Kisel. "In the mentioned circumstances the activity of a journalist of a foreign medium is unlawful and inadmissible," reads the document. Dz. Kisel is also warned that in case of similar actions in the future he will be brought to justice. The text of the warning was passed to the journalist by the prosecutor of the department of supervision over the implementation of laws and the legality of legal acts Aleh Levanchuk, who also reminded that a similar warning had been issued to him two years ago.


Restrictions on freedom of assembly

On 6 March the head of Brest regional trade union of radio electronic industry Zinaida Mikhniuk was prohibited to hold a picket of solidarity with Aleh Stakhayevich, the sacked head of the independent trade union at the enterprise "Granite" in Mikashevichy. She wanted to hold the action on 7 March in the park of Veterans of War in Afghanistan, officially determined as the place for mass events by Brest City Executive Committee. The reason for the ban is typical: the failure to provide service agreements with police, medics and public utilities.

On 14 March it became known about the prohibition of 15 pickets in the Brest districts. The applications for these actions were filed by activists of the Belarusian Leftist Party "Fair World". They wanted to hold the pickets in the villages of Brest district and the town of Damachava on 16 March in order to inform the population about the real socio-political situation in the country.

On 20 March Orsha City Executive Committee again prohibited activists of the Belarusian Leftist Party "Fair World" to hold pickets dedicated to socio-political issues. This time the authorities disliked that the applicants didn't mention the sources from which the actions were to be finances. The demand to mention the source of financing the mass event was introduced in Article 5 of the Law "On Mass Events in Republic of Belarus" by amendment. Another reason for the ban is traditional: the failure to provide service agreements with medics, public utilities and police.

On 20 March Baranavichy civil activist Ryhor Hryk received a letter, signed by the head of Baranavichy City Executive Committee Dz. Kastsiukevich. By this document the activist was prohibited to hold an anti-impoverishment picket on 25 March.

On 20 March, Minsk City Executive Committee authorized a procession and rally in Minsk on the Freedom Day, 25 March. At the same time, a tendency of banning such actions was observed in all other towns and cities of Belarus.

On 21 March, Hrodna City Executive Committee turned down the application for holding a rally on 25 March. The refusal was signed by the deputy head of the executive committee Iryna Senchakova.

Vitsebsk authorities turned down the applications for holding pickets on 25 March, filed by the local activist of the Conservative Christian Party BPF Piatro Sarapen with Chyhunachny, Kastrychnitski and Pershamaiski District Executive Committees of Vitsebsk. The application of Aliaksei Haurutsikau, Yan Dziarzhautsau and Khrystafor Zhaliapau for holding a procession and meeting on Svaboda Square was turned down, too. The refusal was signed by the deputy head of Vitsebsk District Executive Committee Uladzimir Shloma.

Slonim District Executive Committee prohibited holding a mass rally in the city park on the Freedom Day. Before 25 March Slonim police warned the local activists against taking part in any festive activities. For instance, a police officer came to Ivan Sheha's work and asked him to sign a warning, which Mr. Sheha refused to do.

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