Zubr activists Alyaksandr Kazakou and Dzmitry Zubro are at the moment in the police department of Tsentralny district of Minsk. It is still unknown under what circumstances they had been detained, what are the charges against them and for how long they would remain incarcerated. Supposedly they have been detained for a graffiti “16”.
The Public Belarusian-Russian Human Rights Commission has condemned a controversial security act that Belarus` leader Aleksandr Lukashenko signed into law on December 20. The legislation provides for prison sentences for training people to take part in street protests, discrediting Belarus` international image abroad, and appealing to countries and international organizations to act "to the detriment of" the country`s "security, sovereignty and territorial integrity." It toughens punishment for appeals for street protests and the overthrow of the government.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) has expressed concern about hefty penalties that Belarus` Supreme Economic Court reinstated against its member committee in the country. Earlier this week, the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Court (SEC) ordered the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) to pay around $75,000 in back taxes and fines.
One is a Soviet-style dictator running a police state, the other the modernizing leader of the world`s largest country. Their two nations are locked in an embrace that could see one swallow the other whole.
With the official date for Belarus’ presidential election now set, we see substantial political risks associated with the poll. Current president Alexander Lukashenko maintains his tight grip on the state, in particular the media, and we still anticipate a win for the incumbent. Given the recent uprisings in Ukraine and Georgia, the chance of a similar protest in Belarus cannot be ruled out, and any popular revolt would likely be met by a forceful response from the authorities.
Forming of 165 territorial election commissions for election of the president of Belarus is to be finished on Wednesday, told the secretary of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the country Mikalay Lazavik. “Today 7 regional and Minsk city commissions should be formed, 118 district, 16 city and 24 district commissions in towns,” said the secretary of the CEC. Meanwhile the leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus Syarhei Kalyakin at today’s press conference in Minsk said that according to his information, opposition representatives had not been included to the election commissions. “It demonstrates once again that the authorities are not going to hold fair and free elections,” Kalyakin stated.
Baranavichy town executive committee has not authorized holding a picket in support of independent newspaper “Intex-prss” on December 29. The newspaper had been excluded for subscription catalogue for the year 2006.
Law-enforcers have initiated a criminal action relating to the fact of an attempt to exchange a false 100-dollar note by Syarhei Papkou, the head of the initiative group for collection of signatures for nomination of Zyanon Paznyak a candidate for presidency, the Interfax was informed in the police department of the Savetski district.
WHEN Andrei Illarionov joined the Kremlin as an economic adviser in 2000, he and most of the Western world were convinced that Russia was finally heading towards a brighter, freer future. For five years he advised President Putin and headed Russia’s negotiations with the G8, which Russia joined in 1997 as a reward for its liberal political and economic reforms. But yesterday — five days before Russia takes over the rotating G8 presidency for the first time — Mr Illarionov resigned from the Kremlin, saying that his country was no longer politically or economically free.
Voicing deep regret that the newspaper Solidarnost will no longer be available at news stands on 1 January, Reporters Without Borders today roundly condemned the action of the
Belarusian authorities in denying the country`s independent newspapers access to all necessary resources.
Deputy head of Svetlahorsk regional police department Pyotr Zykun acquainted a civil activist Telman Maslyukou with a report of administrative violation, filed after a home-search. According to policemen, he was suspected of keeping of weapon and drugs. In the report the following accusation was written by policemen: “He brought printed materials from Minsk with appeals of unregistered organization Zubr, and un this way acted on behalf of unregistered political organization”.
On December 27 in the evening a businessman Mikalay Autukhovich was taken to Vaukavysk from Minsk from a prison hospital. For 74 days he was on hunger strike, first in Hrodna prison, and later in the prison hospital. He protested against his arrest. Hrodna regional prosecutor’s office changed the measure of restraint for him for house arrest, the Radio Svaboda informs.
A senior State Department official said the U.S. agenda for the trans-Atlantic relationship in 2006 is to broaden NATO’s mandate and extend its global reach; to advance democracy in Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia; and to cooperate with Europe in every region of the world through political, economic and security partnerships, the State Department said on the official website.
The Belarus-TV satellite channel has been granted a one-year licence for broadcasting to Russian regions, the Belarusian news agency Belapan reported on 26 December, quoting the chief of the channel`s marketing department, Natallya Tsyatsko.