Week 28, June 28-July 4

July 4th, 2011   Theme: Belarus

Freedom House issues the latest annual report “Nations in Transit 2011” providing a comparative study of democratic development in 29 countries, including Belarus. Massive repressions against people during the official Independence Day celebrations.

June 29

Siarhiej Ryzou, is interrogated by the Police in Viciebsk. A number of Internet sources published appeals for a nation-wide strike. The appeal was allegedly signed by Siarhiej Ryzou.

Zmicier Surchai, regional coordinator of the organising committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy in Brest, is accused of disorderly conduct in accordance with article 17.1 of Administrative Code of the Belarusian Law.

The activist took part in two “silent protests” on June 15 and 22. Zmitser Surchai was detained during both events. However, the first time he was released without charges.

Dzianis Daskievic, civil activist from the town of Rahacou, is called to the local Police department for an interrogation after participating in the silent protest.

June 30

About 250 people are detained after yesterday’s “silent protests” across Belarus. Minsk police detained over 160 protesters, including a number of journalists. Some of the detainees were reportedly beaten.

Freedom House issues the latest annual report “Nations in Transit 2011” providing a comparative study of democratic development in 29 countries, including Belarus. According to the survey, most of Belarus’s ratings either worsened or remained unchanged as compared to the previous year. In the report the Electoral Process and Independent Media is mentioned among the spheres negatively impacted by the 2010 presidential election and its aftermath.

Minsk courts deliberate the administrative cases of individuals who have been detained during the “silent protests” in the centre of the city.

Most of the protesters are fined from 70,000 (10 €) up to 945,000 (135€). However, some of the detainees are sentenced to administrative arrests between eight and 15 days.

July 1

Julian Misiukievic, democratic activist from the organisation of Malady Front (Young Front), is called to the Taxation Committee after her flat was searched by the KGB officers. The activist presented a book of his poems to the KGB investigator who headed the search brigade. The book had been published at his own expenses back in 2009 and had the circulation of just 150 copies. However, the KGB brought the books to the Taxation Committee which called the activist to explain the origin of the money he had spent on the publication, his foreign trips and the registration of some non-existing website.

The Police comment the detentions of participants of the silent protests June 29 claiming that all detainees “loudly shouted out obscenities addressed to the police”. According to the police the action in Minsk June 29 gathered about 350 people, whereas human rights defenders from the organisation of Viasna and eye witnesses observed about 1,500 people. 269 people were brought to police

stations all over Belarus. 130 of them were charged with disorderly conduct, insubordination to the police or participation in the unauthorized protests.

July 2

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) presents its latest report on the restrictions to the political and civil rights of citizens of Belarus after the 2010 presidential elections at press conference in Minsk. Participants in the mission collected dozens of witness testimonies from presidential candidates and representatives of their campaign headquarters (who had been freed from detention by that time), relatives of arrested, attorneys, members of human rights organizations, journalists, and representatives of European diplomatic missions.

The wave of repression that followed the presidential elections on December 19, 2010, has resulted in a dramatic decline in human rights and civil and political liberties in Belarus. The duration and the sheer amount of repression give cause for particular concern.

Stanislau Suskievic, the first head of independent Belarus, is arrested on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border together with 15 student of Belarusian European Humanities University in Exile in Vilnius. The supposed reason for the detention of the students is that one of them was allegedly trafficking illegal drugs. The reason for the detention of Stanislau Suskievic is that his passport “looks suspicious” and could be forged. The detainees are ordered to tell their names and surnames in front of a video camera. After six hours all detainees are let go without charges.

July 3

Dimiter Kenarov, famous Bulgarian journalist, is detained by the Police in the town of Mazyr, as well as Jason Motl, writer and U.S. citizen, are detained. Though both are quickly released from custody after the intervention of the U.S. Consul. Jason Motl is deported from Belarus.

Belarus celebrates the official Independence Day with a lot of events and a massive military parade. According to eye witnesses there were many more KGB officers and Policemen than ordinary people attending. The KGB and Riot Police is controlling the entire city centre in Minsk arresting every single person who seems suspect to the regime. Shortly before 12.00 p.m. more than 110 people were arrested and taken to Police stations. Later in the afternoon hundreds of people gather in the city centre in Minsk, near the main train station, and in other towns across the country for a silent protest. People express their protest against the authoritarian regime by clapping hands. The KGB and Police, however, harshly beat and arrest dozens of people using tear-gas against them. According to the human rights defender from the organisation Viasna, over 310 people were arrested in different parts of Belarus. Dozens of journalists were detained and some of them beaten by the KGB.

July 4

Human rights defenders from Viasna say over 3o0 people were detained in different parts of Belarus on 3 July, 160 of them – in Minsk alone. 5 people were detained in Baranavicy, about 30 – in Homiel, about 80 – in Hrodna, 15 – in Mahilou, 6 – in Smalavicy, 7 – in Viciebsk, 2 – in Zlobin.

Late in the evening, the Minsk police released from their departments under-aged individuals, journalists and a pregnant women. The majority of the detainees are charged in accordance with the article 17.1, disorderly conduct.

About 100 people are detained on the square near the railway station. The police use tear gas. Policemen also sprinkled pepper spray in the eyes of the journalists who are making photo and video shots of the action. About 50 detainees are taken to the Frunzenski District Police Department, about 20 – to the Zavadski District Police department, about 30 – to the Kastrycnicki District Police department, about 40 – to the Maskouski District Police department.

Among those who are kept in the Frunzenski District Police department are Dzianis Dzemski, Viktar Hrynkevich and Yauhen Ihnatchyk.

About 20 people are kept in the Zavadski District Police department, including six women, one of them pregnant. All journalists are released from this police department. Journalist Pavel Sviardlou is detained in the afternoon and doesn’t answer his phone for four hours. Later he calls somebody and let them know that he is at the Frunzenski Police department and will be taken to the prison in Akrescin Street. He is released from the prison at 22 p.m.

Tear gas was used during the detention of Maryna Lobava and Uladz Lobau.

The Court sentence most of the arrested people from five up to 15 days in prison, other are fined.

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