Last week the Subcommittee on Europe of the House Committee on International Relations of the US Congress held hearings on the situation in Belarus. American lawmakers discussed prospects of assistance to democratic forces in this country in relation to the imminent parliamentary elections, and Lukashenka’s regime’s growing attacks against civil society fundamentals.
One of these days in Germany another action was held to attract attention to the situation with human rights in Belarus. Representatives of the Bonn branch of Amnesty International declared that they are concerned by persecution of the Belarusian citizens by KGB. As it is said in a special appeal “Attention: KGB”, this organization is the only one in the post-Soviet area that retained its hideous name and that carries out mass repressive actions against opposition and all opponents of the authorities in general.
About 50 people participated in the action “Chain of those who care” in the evening of April 6 in Minsk that was held in remembrance of the date of death of Vice Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the 13th calling Henadz Karpenka, who died 5 years ago. Participants of the action lined along the Skaryna Avenue on October Square and stood for an hour with the portraits of Henadz Karpenka and disappeared politicians Yuri Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar and TV cameraman Zmitser Zavadski. Unsanctioned action lasted for about an hour and there where no incidents during it. However when leaflets were handed out, two participants were detained for identification.
The majority of the action’s participants were members of Zubr movement and the United Civil Party: coordinator of the Zubr movement Uladzimir Kobets and Yawhen Afnahel, the UCP leader Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the “Human rights Alliance” Ludmila Hryaznova, former political prisoner Andrei Klimov.
On April 6 Minsk transport prosecutor’s office brought up an action against Aksana Novikava, on charges relating Article 367 part 2 of the Criminal Code of Belarus – slandering the president. The case has been brought up against her because on April 5 in the tunnel #2 of the railway station Passenger Minsk she “publicly demonstrated leaflets made on copying equipment, and handed out the leaflets to the passers-by. These leaflets contain slander, deliberately false information, defaming President of the republic of Belarus and charging him of grave crimes”. The case has been brought up by the transport prosecutor, legal adviser A. Lashyn, and today, in the second part of the day the first interrogation is to take place, human rights center Viasna informs.
Majority of Belarusians are dissatisfied with development of democracy and human rights situation in the country. These results were received by the Independent Institute of Social, Economical and Political Research (IISEPR) during the nation-wide poll carried out in March (1480 people aged from 18 were questioned). According to the IISEPR information, 18.9% of people told that they are “absolutely dissatisfied”, and 35% are “rather dissatisfied” by development of democracy in Belarus. 50.6% of citizens gave a negative answer to the question: “To your mind, are human rights respected in Belarus?”
This weekend features the Davis Cup quarterfinals, with Sweden at the U.S., Argentina at Belarus, France at Switzerland, and the Netherlands at Spain. Each day this week Tennis-X will preview one of the quarterfinal ties, leading to the beginning of the first day of singles play on Friday:
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has issued a decree on the signing of an agreement with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) to receive a credit of $30 million to reconstruct Minsk Thermal Power Plant-3, which will cost $146 million in total.