Week 32, July 26-August 1

August 1st, 2011   Theme: Belarus

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee addresses to the UN Special Repporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus prepares amendments to the “law on mass events”.

July 26

The lawyers of the political prisoners Iryna Chalip and Mikita Lichavid have not passed the certification. It has been announced today, on July 26.

It’s worth noting that after the peaceful demonstration on December 19, 2010, the Ministry of Justice has organised an extra certification for the lawyers. Such lawyers as Hanna Bahcina and Daryja Lipkina have already lost their licences. Both of them took part in hearings of the criminal case of “mass riots”. Hanna Bahcina defended Iryna Chalip, famous independent journalist, and Daryja Lipkina – Mikita Lihavid, democratic activist sentenced to several years in prison.


July 27

Uladzimir Nyaklajeu, former oppositional candidate, is summoned to the General Public Prosecutor’s Office on July 26.

The politician has been informed that the employees of the General public prosecutor’s office interrogated him with regard to his foreign trips, in particular, to Poland, Lithuania and Russia. They threatened he might be arrested if he did not stop going abroad. In their opinion, Uladzimir Niaklajeu broke the terms of his sentence: he is sentenced to two years of imprisonment with suspension of sentence for two years.

July 28

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee addresses to the UN Special Repporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on the situation with Belarusian lawyers because of the recent disbarment of several lawyers this week.

The lawyers Hanna Bachcina and Darja Lipkina were reportedly disbarred for their independent stand in protecting the rights of Iryna Chalip and Mikita Lichavid, who stood trials over the December 19, 2010, “mass riots” criminal case.

On July 26 the lawyers failed to undergo an extraordinary attestation initiated by the Ministry of Justice. The official explanation is “violating the standards of lawyer’s activities and the professional code of ethics.”

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee is indignant at the decision by the Lawyers’ Attestation Commission. According Hary Pahaniajla, chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the decision has been ordered by the Ministry of Justice, which, in turn, executes the orders of a famous person who is trying to suppress the last independent social institute – lawyers.

Nina Bahinskaja, democratic activist from the Belarusian Christian Democracy, and Natalia Vodzic are arrested by Police while laying flowers to the monument of national writer Janka Kupala due to the 21st Anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty from the USSR. The activists are taken to the Central Police Department but released after a few hours without charges.

July 29

The private flat of Jauhien Lipkovic, famous blogger, is being searched by Minsk Police. According to Jauhien Lipkovich, the search is carried out as part of a criminal case for alleged disrespect for the state symbols initiated by Deputy Prosecutor General of Belarus. Jauhien Lipkovich’s blog features “images of the state flag of abusive and blasphemous character.
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus prepares amendments to the “law on mass events”. From now on, it will be obligatory to obtain permit not only for pickets and demonstrations, but for silent protests as well.

The Council of Ministers suggests that a permit should be obtained “for mass presence of citizens in a previously designated public place (including open air) at a certain time for conducting previously agreed actions or inactivity. Such actions, or inactivity, may be organised through the Internet.


August 1, 2011

Naša Niva, Belarus’ leading independent newspaper, gets fined to 14,000,000 Belarusian roubles (about 2000 €). Alaksandr Karamysau, Judge of the Minsk City Economic Court, considered the administrative case that had been brought against the private socio-political edition Naša Niva by the Main Police Department of the Minsk City Executive Committee, and sentenced the newspaper to pay a fine of 14 million roubles. The real initiator of the case is the Ministry of Information – the case was brought after the Main Police Department received its letter About bringing to administrative responsibility, in which it was stated that administrative cases were to be brought against Narodnaya Volia and Nasha Niva, each of whom had received two warnings from the Ministry of Justice during the year.

The local authorities in the town of Mazyr ban a picket in support of Mikita Lichavid, political prisoner.
Ales Kavalcuk and Ryhor Kryvicki, civil activists from Mazyr, applied to the Mazyr District Executive Committee to obtain permission for holding a picket in support of political prisoner Mikita Lichavid who is subject to constant pressurisation in jail.

In his answer Feliks Haliuk, Deputy Chair of the Mazyr DEC, stated that they could hold the picket only at the Spartak or Palesse stadiums but not somewhere in the centre of town. The former one closed almost all the time, and the latter one is located on the outskirts of the settlement of Kozenki.

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