Week 12: March 8-14March 14th, 2011 Theme: Belarus
New sentences for democratic activists in accordance with the criminal case of “mass riots” after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010. Ales Michalevic, former presidential candidate, leaves the country.
The largest independent newspaper Nasha Niva appeals to KGB in Minsk to get back confiscated material (including computers). The Paper points out that it is hard to accomplish its journalistic tasks without the appropriate equipment. In addition: in accordance with Belarusian law it is not legal to interfere in this way in journalistic work. The KGB refuses to return equipment.
NGO:s and media in Poland receive a fake letter which is supposed to look like it is from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the letter is for example said that “the Belarusian democratic opposition is ruled by the Poles and that the foreign minister Mr. Sikorski paid Uladzimir Niaklajeu 80.000 dollars for organising a demonstration in Minsk after the elections”. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explain that the letter has not been issued by them. The Poles suspect that this is the informational war against them from the KGB.
The Maskouski district court in Minsk published the sentences for three participants of the demonstration after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010.
Dzmitry Miadzviedz – sentenced to three years of personal restraint (limitation of freedom) with no commitment to specialised institutions. Dzmitry is not affiliated with any political party or movement. He was detained on the Independence Square on December 29 and sentenced to ten days imprisonment for participating in an unauthorised demonstration. Sometime later he was once again arrested in accused of “mass riots” after the elections. On 6 January he was charged under Par. 1 and 2 Art. 293 of the Criminal Code. He was accused of armed resistance and violent actions against six police officers. In accordance with the accusations, he tried to break through the police cordon and kicked them with his feet, used iron bars and bottles.
State prosecutor stated that the guilt of Dzmitry Miadzviedz is completely proved by the testimonies of the victims and called for a four year sentence. During the trial, Dzmitry Miadzviedz’s lawyer Siarhei Lepesh stated that there is no real proof of Miadzviedz’s guilt. He also argued that there were no arms, as spade stems and spades aren’t arms. “There was no mass riot”, the lawyer added. He also draws many discrepancies in the case materials in the preamble of the accusation since during the process there were no evidences of Dzmitry Miadzviedz using neither arms nor iron bars. On the contrary, the video shown at the trial clearly demonstrated that he was trying to defend himself from getting harshly beaten by Police covering his head with the hands.
Artyom Breus and Ivan Gaponov– citizens of the Russian Federation have to pay a fine of about 3.000 $. Artyom Breus was detained during the 19 December protest on the Independence Square, sentenced to 15 days for participating in an unauthorized demonstration and released on December 29 together with other Russian nationals. The same day he was arrested again. On 5 January he was officially charged for active participating in an unauthorised demonstration, armed and violent resistance against 15 officers of the special Police Forces and damaging the building of the Parliament on the Independence Square.
Prosecutor Siarhiej Kunas asked the court to fine Artyom Breus and Ivan Gaponiv about $5,620 referring to article 70 of the Criminal Code – “Appointment of a punishment milder than provided for the particular crime”.
The trial was attended by OSCE experts and Belarusian human rights defenders.
The court in the town of Marjina Horka disposed the appeal of Natalia Iljinic, a teacher in history from a village school, who was expelled from her job at Talka School by getting her contract prolonged. Natalia Iljinic is a member of the BPF Party. The Court refuses to reinstate her at work.
Nasta Palazanka, a famous activist from the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front), who has spent more than two month in the KGB’s internal prison being accused of organising and participating in “mass riots” after the elections, receives the award for bravery of the United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Lyapis Trobetskoy, famous Belarusian band, is banned from playing in the town of Homiel. The band planned to arrange a concert in a sport hall. The administration of the hall says that due to technical problems the concert cannot take place. The organiser tries to find another venue for the concert but the local authorities makes it impossible to arrange the concert.
Valancina Hrakun, an old woman and pensioner in the town of Biesankovicy, is questioned by the local Police about her participation in the demonstration after the elections. The Policeman showed printed copies of a bill showing telephone calls made by her on December 19, from Independence Square in Minsk.
The KGB doesn’t allow Andrej Dzmitryjeu and Uladzimir Niaklajeu to attend the funeral of Sviatlana Navumava, one of the key people within Tell the Truth and famous political scientist at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. She died several days ago. In the case of Andrej Dzmitryjeu, the Prosecutor’s office calls him to a meeting at the time of the funeral.
Dzimtry Us, oppositional ex-candidate, is questioned by the KGB about the events of December 19, 2010. After the interrogation, he tells journalists that the KGB tries to force him to witness against Mikalaj Statkievic, Social-Democrat and oppositional ex-candidate.
Taciana Sieviaryniec, mother of Paval Sieviaryniec, oppositional politician from the Belarusian Christian Democracy has been in the KGB’s internal prison for more than three months. She receives a letter in support and with words of solidarity with her and her son, from Wilfriend Martens, President of the European People’s Party.
A group of youth arrange an event “Food – not bombs” during which they gave food to homeless or old people. However, the Police came and took photographs of. The officers demanded all participants to show their identification documents and to leave the place as soon as possible. Otherwise they might get arrested for unauthorized picket.
The Supreme Court rejects the appeal of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee in regards to warnings from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus that the Belarusian Helsinki Committee informed a special rapporteur to the UN about such issues as independent courts and lawyers. The Ministry of Justice compares it with the “violation of the law on public associations, mass media, spreading false information to discredit the police and judicial authorities of the Republic of Belarus”.
The Palace of Arts in Minsk hosts the exhibition “Pahonia” by Alaksiej Marackin, famous Belarusian artist. The authorities do not allow the artist to exhibit some of the works because of ideological details. The exhibition is in fact about the events after the presidential elections in Belarus.
Zmiecier Vajciuskievic, famous musician, is banned from playing in Brest. He is on the black list of the Belarusian authorities.
The newspaper SB of the administration of president Lukashenka, calls the statement and information about torture, made by former presidential candidate Ales Michalevic, a joke.
About 50 people in the town of Homiel gather for a flash mob in support of the band Lyapis Trobetskoy which was banned from playing in the town and is now on the black list of the Belarusian authorities. People sing a song of the band. Then the special Police Forces come and threaten with arrests if the participants don’t leave the place. During the event Aleh Razkou, journalist from the informational agency BelaPan is arrested by the Police.
Ales Michalevic, former presidential candidate, leaves the country after he has told openly about how he was tortured in prison. His location is unknown.
The KGB allows Uladzimir Niaklajeu to use the computer at home so that he can work. The only condition is that he has to show everything he writes!
Viktar Sazonau, Belarusian human rights defender, is detained at the Belarusian-Polish border. Viktar Sazonau was active during the elections process and the detention might show that there are new black lists for people who cannot travel abroad.
Yet another prohibition of a concert of a well-known band Neuro-Dubel. The band was supposed to play at the night club Reactor in Minsk, but the concert gets cancelled by the administration.
The health of Dzmitry Bulanau, prisoner from the peaceful demonstration on December 19, 2010, is getting still worse. Lately he has serious problems with his legs and he cannot walk properly. Now, after prison administration’s refusal to give the prisoner medical care during more than two months, he is finally admitted to a hospital. According to Dzmitry Bulanau’s mother, when he was transmitting to hospital he couldn’t walk on his own.