Political Amendments to Criminal Code: Belarusian Regime Takes USSR and Turkmenistan For a Model 11:22, 09/12/2005
In the Criminal Code of the Russian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic of 1960 there was a rather harsh punishment for criticism, discrediting and insult of organs and representatives of the state and authorities. The article 70, “Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”, is especially remarkable. The punishment for such actions was imprisonment for a term from 5 to 25 years, depending on the seriousness of the crime.
The Article 190-1 “Dissemination of information discrediting Soviet political and social system” envisaged a fine of 100 rubles or imprisonment for up to 3 years.
Besides, criticizing the authorities could be considered a violation of the Article 64 “Treason against the fatherland”. People could be accused of “Adhering to the enemy”, “providing help to a foreign state in carrying out hostile activities against the USSR”. Such crimes could be punished by restraint of liberty for a term from 10 to 15 years and confiscation of property, or by capital punishment and confiscation of property.
At present the Criminal Code of only one country of the former USSR, Turkmenistan, contains the norms analogous to the Belarusian ones. In Turkmenistan there is a separate article 176, “offence against president”. Its first part envisages responsibility for attack on life and health of the president, and its second part – responsibility for libeling the president and for insult. Accused for the second part of the article can be sentenced to up to 5 years of imprisonment.
There are the articles in the Criminal Code of Belarus defending the dignity and honour of the president: Article 367 “Libel on the president of the Republic of Belarus” (punished by a fine, corrective labour for up to two years, or imprisonment for a term from 4 to 5 years) and Article 368 “Insult of the president of the Republic of Belarus” (envisages a fine, corrective labour for up to two years or restraint of liberty for up to three years”.