Deputy head of the Belarusian Popular Front Party Ales Mikhalevich was sentenced to 10 days of arrest today. The politician was accused of violating Article 167-1, Part 2 of the Administrative Code (organizing of unsanctioned mass events). The sentence was made by the judge of the Soviet district court of Minsk Axana Relyava. The famous human rights activist, member of the Political Council of the United Civil Party Ludmila Hryaznova was sentenced to a fine of 225 basic units – 4 million 275 thousand Belarusian rubles (about 1 900 US dollars). The human rights activist was charged with violation of articles 167-1, Part 2 of the Administrative Code (organizing of unsanctioned mass events). The sentence was passed by the judge of the Soviet Court Ruslan Kazadaew.
“Today in the “parliament’ I asked Prime Minister Syarhei Sidorski, why Marinich was arrested. He refused to answer. He said that he would not answer non-economical questions. The chairman of the “chamber of representatives” Vadzim Papow has not answered either. Olny the chairman of the KGB told that they detained Marinich. To my mind, it means tha beginning of another campaign against opositionally-minded people. Tatsiana Protska, who has given a written undertaking not to leave the place, Mikhail Marinich, -- they are people, who cooperated with the deputy group “Respublika”.
“It seems to me that Marinich’s arrest is closely related to the things that are going on in Strasboug now. If the report of Mr.Pourgourides on disappearances in Belarus would be adopted at the PACE session, it would mean that Lukashenka’s regime from the regime of doubtful legitimacy would be listed among a criminal one. And a clumsy attempt is being made to represent Belarusian opposition as a very dangerous and armed one. But the authorities will not succeed in making out Mikhail Marinich to be a spy. Marinich is a very important figure, a man having good reputation and authority both in Belarus and abroad”, told well-known human rights activist, coordinator of the civil initiative Charter’97 Dzmitry Bandarenka, commenting on the arrest of the former Minister of Foreign Economical Ties of Belarus, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus, ex-candidate for presidency Mikhail Marinich.
Official Minsk continues to demonstrate negative attitude towards joining the European Union by new countries. The news conference of eleven ambassadors of presesnt and fututre members of the European Union, accredited in Minsk, which was to be held last week, has been postponed three times because of refusals of the National press center to provide room for it. The meeting of the ambassadors with the journalists happened only today at the territory of Lithuanian Embassy. Besides, as said by participants of the press conference, “the administrative permissions were not given” for carrying out a large performance of European artists in Minsk circus, during which a translation of the address of the European Commission president Romano Prodi was planned.
Russian television is a major factor in Belarusian-Russian relations. Viewed by many of Belarus`s 10 million people, especially in Minsk, Russian television is an important source of information about the outside world for those living within Belarus`s tightly controlled information environment. Although Russian television`s news coverage has contracted in recent years with the evolving political situation there under President Vladimir Putin, it is still more complete and accurate than homegrown Belarusian coverage.
A mourning action dedicated to the anniversary of Charnobyl tragedy took part in Vitsebsk on the initiative of the United Civil Party and the Belarusian Popular Front “Adradzhenne” members. Participants of the action planned to walk down the main street, Lenin Street, with a symbolic Charnobyl bell ringing. However, in a several minutes after the action started, policemen of the Chyhunachny (Railway) district police department detained four members of the Belarusian Popular Front and took them to the police station. They are chairman of the city BPF Council Ulad Tokarew, Kastus Smolikaw, Syarhei Shapira and Ales Yanushkevich. Policemen of the Kastrychnitski district police department detained chairman of the city UCP organization Alena Zaleskaya and two party members, Ela Kanavalava and Uladzimir Semyanchukow, who had several hundreds of leaflets. Several passers-by who joined the demo were taken to the police station as well. In this way a pensioner Rosa Pushkaryova, Radio Polonia correspondent Yuras Stsyapanaw, a member of the Conservative Christian Party BPF Jan Tawpyha and a student of the Medical University Kastus Kuznyatsow were arretsed.
Traditional rally of Belarusian opposition on the day of Charnobyl atomic power station accident took place on April 26 in Minsk. About a thousand and a half people took part in the demonstration. The organizer of the action was the People’s coalition Five Plus. And the declarants of the action, well-known human rights activist Ludmila Hryaznova, deputy head of the Political Council of the United Civil Party of the Belarusian Popular Front Ales Mikhalevich, member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada Paval Znavets and chairman of the Free Trade Union of Belarus Henadz Bykaw were handed writs demanding to come to police department of the Soviet district of Minsk on today’s morning. It is likely that they would be either arretsted for carrying out an unsanctioned event, or would be fined for a huge sum.
As the press center of the Charrter’97 found out, yesterday night in Minsk former Foreign Economical Ties Minister of Belarus, former Ambassador of Belarus to Latvia, Estonia and Finland, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus, leader of the public association “Business Initiative” Mikhail Marinich. According to the preliminary information of the BDG, Mikhail Marinich was summoned to KBG at 3 p.m. for an interrogation . In the evening a search in his summer cottage started, and it ended in the middle of the night. The investigation agencies confiscated his archive. As the information department of the Belarusian KGB informed, the official press release on the accident is to be issued in the afternoon. The details of the arrest are to be cleared up.