Picks of the week
Civil Society Champions Award 2018 won by human rights coalition
On January 10, Minsk hosted a ceremony of the Civil Society Champions Award 2018 held by the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs for the 10th time. The jury selected ten most formidable and outstanding personalities, companies, initiatives and events in 2018.
The coalition work of Belarusian human rights NGOs in preparing the report for the UN Human Rights Committee was recognized as the best partnership of the year.
The first death sentence this year delivered
The Mahilioŭ Regional Court delivered a death sentence, finding the accused guilty of killing two women in late July. The verdict was pronounced after visiting a series of hearings held in Babrujsk.
Aliaksandr Asipovich, 36, has been convicted of “aggravated murder” (Art. 139, Clause 2 of the Criminal Code).
On January 9, the Spokesperson of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe issued a statement expressing hope that the court decision would be overturned in the higher instance court and once again called Belarus to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty as the first step towards its abolition.
This is the first death sentence handed down in 2019. Last year, two men were sentenced to death, and four previously convicted prisoners were executed.
Mahilioŭ human rights activist threatened with expulsion from public monitoring commission
The chief of the Department of Justice of the Mahilioŭ regional executive committee Aliaksandr Majmusau was stung by the statement of Barys Bukhel on the violation of rights of the political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny.
mspring.online reports that, in his letter to members of the regional public monitoring commission (PMC), Mr. Majmusau condemned the statement of the human rights defender and threatened to expel Mr. Bukhel from the commission, "if he continues providing false facts to the media."
On December 6, at the seminar at the Ministry of Justice attended by the representatives of the Council of Europe and several EU ambassadors, the chairperson of the national PMC Tatsiana Krauchanka has called political prisoner Michail Zhamchuzhny a complainer. She also lied about having personally talked to him.
In his turn, Mr. Bukhel said that none of the members of both regional and national PMCs was allowed to see the prisoner who regularly experiences pressure from the administration of the penal institution.
UNHRC considered complaints of 39 Belarusians in 2018
Homel Center for Strategic Litigation (GCST) described the decisions taken in 2018 by the UN Human Rights Committee on complaints of Belarusian citizens. Violation of the right to life, the right to be free from torture and degrading treatment, the right to a fair trial, the right to peaceful assembly and expression - this is an incomplete list of the claims of the Belarusians to their country.
The UN Human Rights Committee rejected three more Belarusian cases as inadmissible.
Among the latter appeals to the UN Human Rights Committee are the complaint of blogger Andrej Pavuk about his persecution for interviewing local residents, as well as banning him public meetings of officials, and an appeal of human rights activist from Borisov Aleh Matskievich who believes that he was illegally fined for attending a picket for punishing those responsible for the death of the private Aliaksandr Korzhych.
Preliminary dates of elections in Belarus announced
The Chair of the Central Election Commission, Lidzija Jarmoshyna, stated that the presidential election in Belarus is be held no later than August 30, 2020, and the election of deputies to the House of Representatives – no later than September 6, 2020. There’s only a week difference between the two.