Week 21, May 10-16

May 16th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus, Uta Zapf, is denied Belarusian visa.

May 10

The Cassation Board of the Supreme Economic Court of Belarus declines the appeal by Autoradio to reverse its verdict of March 29. This judgment left in force the decision of the National commission on TV and Radio Broadcasting stating that the broadcasting of Autoradio is to be stopped. Currently Autoradio is waiting to read the motivation for the verdict in order to file a review appeal. The reason for the closure of the radio station is said to be the broadcasting the presidential candidate Andrej Sannikau saying that the destiny of the country is decided not in kitchens, but in the [October]square in Minsk. The Ministry of Information considers this an “extremist call.

Uladzislau Staravierau, independent journalist in the town of Viciebsk, is fined to 875.000 Belarusian roubles (about 195€) by the Kastrycnicki District Court. The trial took place in the absence of the accused activist. Despite testimonies by local democratic activists that the accusations were false, the judge sentenced the journalist to pay two fines for allegedly using bad language in a public place and for insubordination to the police during the 26 April detention. Uladzislau Staravierau was violently detained on April 26, when the Police officers attacked him from behind as he was taking photos of the funeral procession dedicated to the Chernobyl tragedy. They forced him down on the ground, twisted his arms and destroyed his camera.

The regional Prosecutor’s Office in the town of Hrodna declines the petition asking for the restrictions that have been posed on Andrej Paczobut to be changed. Andrej Paczobutis a democratic activist and Belarusian journalist for the largest newspaper in Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza. More than 40 statements by people who confirmed their intention to vouch for Pachobut if he was release on bail were ignored.The journalist is being accused in accordance with two articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic Belarus – Article 368, part 1 of the Criminal Code, “insulting the President of the Republic of Belarus”, and Article 367, part 1, “libel against President of the Republic of Belarus”. Meanwhile, no investigation has been conducted in regards to Andrej Paczobut. Though he is been kept in custody for a month already.

Kaciaryna Klimko and Natallia Drylenka, students of the, by the Belarusian authorities prohibited, European Humanities University in Vilnius, are detained by the Police in the City of Minsk for alleged bad language in public places. The two students are guarded and escorted to the Kastrycnitckaja metro station. The policemen tell the girls that they will be accused of using obscene language in public. The detainees are to be taken to the Forensic Department, but are suddenly released near the metro station Plosca Peramohi at 4 a.m.

May 11

The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus, Uta Zapf, is denied Belarusian visa and cannot attend the trial of former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich.

The Supreme Economic Court of Belarus postpone a lawsuit by the Ministry of Information against the newspaper Nasha Niva. The hearing will be resumed after the Court has taken into account an appeal against the latest warning addressed to Naša Niva on May 18. The hearing in regards to the lawsuit independent newspaper Narodnaja Vola vs. the Ministry of Information has been postponed till May 17.

Meanwhile, over 200 signatures are collected by activists of the local branch of the UCP Party in the town of Babrujsk, demanding a stop to the harassment of Belarusian independent media. The signatures will be submitted to the Minister of Information, Aleh Pralaskouski.

May 12

llja Bahdanau, Viktar Kalesnik and Jauhien Parcynski, democratic activists in the town of Navapolack are detained by the Police. The Police ask the detainees to give written explanations about their activities during the last few hours. According to the policemen, somebody posted leaflets with portraits of political prisoners all over the town.

Two of the detainees are released after spending about three hours at the Police department. Viktar Kalesnik, however, is left to spend the night at the Police station. He is accused of using obscene language in public which is an offence in accordance with the article 17.1 of Belarusian law. The activist is given two options: either staying at the police station, or pay a minimal fine. Mr. Kalesnik chose to pay and is fined 70.000 (about 15€).

Another politically trial takes place, of participants of the demonstration after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010. Dzmitry Daronin and Aleh Fedarkievic are both sentenced to 3,5 years in a high security prison. Siarhiej Kazakou, Uladzimir Loban, Vital Macukevic and Jauhien Sakret are sentenced to three years in a high security prison.

May 13

Valiantsin Susla, democratic activist from the town of Vilejka, is accused of refusing to give fingerprints when the Police tried to force him in accordance with the article 23.4 of the Belarusian law. The local Court fines the activist to 1.050.000 Belarusian roubles (about 235€).

Uladzimir Niapomniascych, democratic activist in the town of Homiel, is detained by the Police for wearing a T-shirt with anti-governmental slogans. He is brought to the closest Police station but after a short time released without charges.

May 14

Andrej Sannikau, former oppositional candidate from the democratic movement European Belarus is sentenced to five years imprisonment in a high security prison. The Court accused him in accordance with the article 293 §1 of the Criminal Code of the Belarusian law. According to the accusations, Andrej Sannikau was the main organiser and, therefore, he prepared the riot on December 19, 2010. He is supposed to have led a crowd of several thousand people to the House of Government, together with another oppositional candidate Mikola Statkevich (Social Democratic Party). The Court stated that the work of several enterprises in the centre of Minsk was blocked due to the demonstration.

Two other democratic activists are sentenced to long-term imprisonment in the same Court, among them are Aleh Hnedchyk who is sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment. Illja Vasilevich, Fiodar Mirzayanau and Uladzimir Yaromenak are each sentenced to three years in a high security prison.

Mikola Dziemidzienka, deputy leader of the organisation Malady Front (Young Front), is detained by the Police in the city of Minsk with no explanations and taken to Akrescina jail. A trial is expected.

May 16

The Court of Zavodzki District in the city of Minsk today sentences several participants of the demonstration after the presidential elections 2010. Iryna Khalip is sentenced to 2 years on probation. Paval Seviarynets is sentenced to two years of compulsory labour. Siarhej Marceleu is sentenced to two years of suspended probation. They all were accused of committing an offence under the article 342. §1 of the Criminal Code (“organizing and preparation of actions that grossly violate the public order or active participation in them”).

Ales Kalita, oppositional activist from the Belarusian Popular Front Party, is interrogated in the case of the explosion in the Minsk underground on April 11. During the blast Ales was in the headquarters of the Belarusian Popular Front Party together with fellow party members. Though, he explaines that he served in the army with one of the suspects (in the explosion on April 11.

Mikola Dziemidzienka, deputy leader of the organisation Malady Front (Young Front), is sentenced to 15 days imprisonment by the Partyzanski District Court for attempting to rais the Belarusian national white-red-white flag on 14 May, when he was detained outside Minsk Maskouski bus terminal.

Following a search in his flat Alaksandr Kudlajeu, democratic activist from the movement of European Belarus, and his son are detained at 7.00 a.m. They are taken to the Police department of Maskouski District.

Uladzimir Sulzycki, oppositional activist of the BPF Youth in the town of Smarhon, stands before the Court of Saviecki District in the city of Minsk being accused of disorderly conduct in accordance with the article 17.1 of the Belarusian law.

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