Wives of the Belarusian public figures, who passed away or vanished under mysterious circumstances or else are serving their jail terms now, contacted the Lithuanian parliamentarians. “Could we ask you to hold in the parliamentary commission for human rights hearings on the issue of disappearances, deaths and imprisonment of the Belarusian political figures?” – reads the address to the Lithuanian MPs, signed by six wives of the repressed Belarusian opposition members. The ladies plead with the Lithuanians to set up an independent international commission to investigate into the circumstances of their husbands’ disappearances and deaths.
The term of incarceration of the director of the stadium “Tractor” Vasil Alejnikau who was detained during receiving a bribe of 1,000 USD, was made longer for two months. He was one of the first accused in the new series of the loud trials that started in the end of the last year. On February 15 three months have passed from his arrest.
Dozens of journalists and public figures of Grodno put their signatures under the open letter to the region’s prosecutor Vassily Litvinov. The signatories plead with the prosecutor to “give his own civil evaluation of the potential legal persecution of journalists Pavel Mozheiko and Nikolai Markevich”. The signatories are convinced that the two men “are no criminals but honest people with active civil positions, patriots of Belarus. These people’s persecution is an anti-state affair. It discredits Belarus and its law-enforcement bodies in the eyes of the international community.” The signatories refuse to cease legal action against the journalists, opened for alleged libeling of Lukashenka, writes “Nasha Niva”.
The Interior Ministry has recently given a high evaluation to the activities of its Grodno police department for alleged high percentage of resolved crimes. Meantime, in a chase for the plan’s fulfillment the law-enforcers don’t scruple to use any means, even hurting the interests and the very health of their citizens.
The Mogilev police carried out an investigation into the activities of the head of the Slavgorod police, lieutenant-colonel Boldyshevsky upon the outcomes of the examination, held by the regional procuracy. The investigation over, they charged the lieutenant-colonel with partial unfitness for job. This fact never surprised anyone, nor did it make anybody happy. Simply because only a few people in Slavgorod knew about it, one being the man himself.
The first of the four quadrilateral meetings of the secretaries of the Security Councils of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland in scheduled for February 19-20 in Kharkiv, the press service of the Security Council of Russia has informed on Monday. As said by the representatives of the Russian Federation SC, the questions of fight with international terrorism, organized criminality, illegal migration are to be discussed, as well as issues of cooperation in economical and energy spheres. After these talks Vladzimir Rushailo plans to visit Kyiv, where he is to meet Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. The visit ends on February 22.
On February 16 a delegation of the Chamber of Representatives of the USA Congress including James Sexton (head of the delegation, Congressman from 1984, Republican, elected from New Jersey), Ronald Lewis (Congressman from 1994, Republican, elected from Kentucky) and Bernard Sanders (independent Congressman from 1990 elected from Vermont), visited Minsk with a five-hours visit.
In the court of the Lenin district of Minsk the court continues to consider the case of Alyaxandar Chyhir, a son of the former prime minister of Belarus, and Anton Yashyn, Zmitser Yutskevich. On February 15 the victims were questioned and some material evidence examined. An experienced welder has also made a statement. His evidence disproved the findings of the investigators. As said by the welder, the seams of the allegedly stolen car that the expert by mistake had examined, were made on the plant. It means that the examination was useless.
The lawyers of the defendants in the case of the “Ihnatovich’s group” consider that the responsibility of their clients was not proved and at the last hearing asked the court to acquit them of all points of the indictment. The representative of the mother of Zmitser Zavadsky, ORT cameraman, whom the group of Ihnatovich allegedly abducted, Ihar Aksionchyk, still continues to insist that Valery Ihnatovich and Maxim Malik are guilty of the Zavadsky’s abduction. However, they are just executors, and the main persons behind has escaped responsibility. The attempts of the attorney to connect the case of abduction with disappearances of prominent Belarusian politicians, Yuri Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasousky, in the context of the information that appeared in the mass media before the elections, where interrupted by the presiding in the court.
In Minsk the office of the non-state organization “Belarusian Students’ Association” (ZBS) that was shut down on the decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus, was raided. Two men broke into the office that is situated in the block of flats in the Darashevich Str. in Minsk, and where several boys and girls were present at that time. One was in a mask with a screw wrench in hand. The other was without a mask, with a knife. They started to beat the first year student of the Belarusian State University, who opened the door. Others present were threatened and ordered to lie down on the floor.
Russian beer company “Baltika” addressed the international commercial arbitrage court of the Russian Trade Industrial Chamber over the lawsuit against the Minsk “Krynitsa” brewery, reports “Baltika’s” office.
The second national TV channel will be launched in Belarus, as A. Lukashenka has signed a corresponding decree. The decree of the head of the state published on Saturday stipulates that the founders of the channel are the state and a number of juridical persons. In the fund of the joint-stock company the state is to own51% of shares. The state shares will be administered by the Ministry of Information.
The date of the national workers’ protest in Belarus is most likely to be set at the session of the Belarusian Free Trade Union council’s presidium, preliminarily scheduled for February 21. The most likely date of holding the action is believed to be March 21. This news was announced at a February 15 press-conference in the FTU press-center by deputy chair of the Federation of trade unions Nikolai Belanovsky, who commented on the outcomes of the session of the chairmen of trade union committees and leading enterprises of Minsk, leaders of regional and industrial trade union affiliates and members of the FTU council’s presidium.
According to the Ministry of statistics and analysis, over the first week of February the consumer prices in the country rose by 1,6%. For comparison: during the first week of January the prices went 1,9% up, while during the analogous period in February 2001 – 0,9%. Since the beginning of this year the consumer prices in Belarus rose by 7,8% (by 5,7% in the same period last year). In 2002 the government and the National Bank are expecting a 20-27% price-increase.