One of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition Mikhail Marynich is imprisoned since April 26, 2004. The trial of the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus, former Minister of Foreign Economic Relations of the Republic of Belarus, Member of Parliament of the 12th Supreme Soviet, is to start on December 23 in the court of Minsk district. For all these 8 months the world and Belarusian community demanded to release the Belarusian political prisoner. Diplomats of the EU country-members and the USA, official representatives of the OSCE and the Council of Europe voiced their support to Mikhail Marynich. Dozens of rallies of people demanding to release Mikhail Marynich have taken place in Belarus, hundreds of thousands leaflets and newspapers with information about Mikhail Marynich’s arrest have been disseminated.
A group of Belarusian citizens from Minsk, Vitsebsk and Vorsha addressed the citizens of the Eastern Belarus. As the press-service of the Central head office of Viktor Yushchenko informs, representatives of the Belarusians are warning the Ukrainians against “actions which could result in repetition of Belarus’ experience”.
A general meeting of opposition candidates in October’s parliamentary elections has been scheduled to take place in Minsk on December 19, Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the United Civic Party (UCP), told BelaPAN.
The leaders of the opposition parties represented in the Five Plus coalition intend in early 2005 to start the procedure of initiating a bill of amendments to the Electoral Code with the House of Representatives of the Belarusian National Assembly.
Former editor-in-chief of the Belarusian newspaper “Region-Vesti” Nikolay Posedko was awarded a prize of the Swedish national section of the international organization “Reporters without Borders”. Annual award “For freedom of press” was established last year. Thus, Nikolay Posedko is its second prize-winner. The first one was imprisoned journalist from Eritrea Davit Isaak.
Residents of dozens Belarusian towns and cities got hundred thousand copies of independent newspaper “Vybar”. The distribution was carried out near bus and railway stations, near factories and big shops, in other animated places in all regions of Belarus.
As Radio Svaboda found out from the sources in the prosecutor’s office of Belarus, Mikalay Skutau is arrested. In the House of representatives of the second calling he occupied the position of the deputy chairman of the parliamentary Commission on Industry, Fuel and Energy complex, Transport, Communications and Entrepreneurship.
Life is becoming increasingly difficult for those who speak out against the regime of President Lukashenka in Belarus. Since the elections and referendum in October which lifted restrictions on his term of office President Lukashenka appears to be asserting his control over civil society and clamping down on opposition with renewed confidence. While the human rights situation worsens in Belarus, however, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, prompted by Russia, resorted to a procedural device known as a "no-action motion" to prevent any discussion of the human rights situation in Belarus. Amnesty International is concerned about the curtailment of freedom of expression and association in Belarus and calls on the international community to put pressure on Belarus to end these abuses.
President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev on December 15 received Defense Minister of the Republic of Belarus Leonid Maltsev. Greeting the guest, Head of the Azerbaijan State expressed consent with the successful development of links between two countries.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s press service in the two last days is informing that the head of state has arrived in Kazakhstan on a working visit, where the problem of Belarusian oil-refining enterprises modernization are to be discussed. Moreover, allegedly his meeting with Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbaev is planned. However, the press service of Nursultan Nazarbaev asserts that the Belarusian leader arrived in their country with a private visit and a meeting with Kazakhstan president has not been scheduled. Besides, at the moment Nursultan Nazarbaev is in Astana celebrating the Independence Day of his country, and Lukashenka, as it turned out, is skiing in Almaty. And he is doing it secretly again, and again at the expense of the state budget.
As the Interfax was informed y some source ingovernement, a ban for placing some industries in free economic zones could be introduced in Belarus. According to this information, at the moment the economy ministry is working out a list of kinds of activities which cannot be placed in free economic zones, as it would be considered inexpedient. Among these activities could be production of confectionery, meat products and dairy, light industry, the source emphasized. He explained that making up of such a list is carried out in the framework of the alteration of the legal regime of the free economic zone residents, and is aimed at liquidation of unfair competition not only in the home market, but in the foreign market as well. From the point of view of state administrating authorities, unfair competition originates from preferential tax treatment and customs dues granted to the free economic zone enterpreneurs.