On February 13, 2006 state television aired two particularly outlandish reports about the United States and our diplomatic mission in Belarus. The Embassy of the United
States of America in Belarus remains committed to conducting all diplomatic programs and activities in an open and transparent manner and would like to address the most recent salvo in Belarusian state media`s disinformation campaign against the United States.
On February 16, which is a Day of Belarusian Solidarity, an official internet-site of the Civil Initiative “We Remember” (Civil Initiative We Remember – www.ciwr.org) was launched. This civil initiative united families of politicians and journalists abducted in Belarus.
The single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich has recorded his first pre-election speech, which is to be broadcast on the First National TV channel tomorrow, on February 22 at 6 p.m. The press center of the Charter’97 has found out that during the speech Alyaksandr Milinkevich called upon Lukashenka to take part in televised presidential debates. The leader of the Belarusian opposition stated that candidates for presidency in Belarus were denied live air time, and expressed hope that Lukashenka would find courage to take part in debates.
The Central Election Commission of Belarus has chosen by lot the order and time of appearances on the Belarusian TV for presidential hopefuls. Alyaksandr Milinkevich is to appear on the First National TV Channel on February 22 from 6 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. and on March 2 from 6.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. He is to appear on the First Channel of National Radio on February 27 from 8.30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and on March 6 from 8 a.m. to 8.30 a.m.
Participants of the pop music concerts project “For Belarus” will visit all regional capitals and will give a gala concert in Minsk. During the concerts some of the artists openly urged to vote “for Belarus”. And a curious spectator meanwhile is looking for some subtexts: is it by chance that host Yahor Khrustalyou had a white-red-white tie, or artist Kryzhanouski had chosen to show a gag “Titanic”? But is it rather “mind plays”. Only a group “J-Mors” has refused to participate in the tour “For Belarus”, though its participation had been announced by the Belarusian TV, the newspaper “Nasha Niva” (www.nn.by) writes.
Officers of the State security Committee (KGB) and representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office have carried out a search in the apartment of the activist of Andrei Klimau (Klimov) Movement Tsimafej Dranchuk. All the documents and printed materials, including old newspapers and leaflets, books by Andrei Klimau have been confiscated. A computer has been confiscated as well. The KGB officers stated that the search has been carried out in the framework of the criminal case initiated for violation of the Article 367 Part 1 (Libel against President of the Republic of Belarus in print, or in a public address, or in mass media). At the moment opposition activist is interrogated in the KGB.
On February 20 the leader of Baranavichy branch of the Young Front Syarzhuk Marchyk, a student of the second year of Baranavichy State University, finance and law department, has received a copy of the order about his eviction signed by rector Vasil Kachurka and the dean of the department Maryna Yunkevich. The reason for expulsion is “violation of the internal regulations”.
Right after presidential candidates’ registration, chairmen of all district election commissions of Hlybokae district received colourful posters and an order to place them in the room where the commission sits. Agitation materials are more likely having local origin. They have an insignia of the city of Hlybokae. There is no doubt about the person for whom these posters urge to vote, the Radio Svaboda informs.
February 20, police detained 15-year old Dzianis Charkasau, a pupil of 9 grade of Zhodzina school ¹6, for stickers “I Am For Freedom” («ß çà ñâàáîäó») pasted onto his school copybooks. Two police officers, one of which is juvenile inspector Mr. Sakalou, examined the boy’s sack right at the foreign language class.
As Radio Svaboda reports, Lithuanian Parliamentary opposition leader Andrus Kubilus accused the Lithuanian Parliament of inconsistence of support for democratic processes in Belarus, “games with Lukashenka’s administration” and double standards in the relations with the Belarusian powers.
Hundreds of people in Homel region came to meetings with a presidential candidate, Alaxandar Milinkevich. Today he visited Zhlobin and Svetlahorsk. In Homel, Milinkevich met voters at a Palace of Construction Workers. The auditorium of 700 places was not able to host all the people willing to see Milinkevich – around a thousand gathered. The future president presented his program and answered questions from the audience.
Belarusian opposition youth leader Pavel Severinets, who is serving a two-year "restricted freedom" sentence in the Polotsk district, Vitebsk region, has been denied a scheduled home leave because of the forthcoming presidential election, his father, Konstantin Severinets, told BelaPAN.
Belarusian Armed Forces bands have been touring military units and cities as part of a broader festival campaign called "For Belarus!" in support of Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko ahead of the March presidential election.
State of health of the political prisoner Syarhei Skrabets is aggravating. The Radio Svaboda has been informed about that by his wife, Alyaksandra Skrabets. Former deputy, who had been sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment, is locked up in Minsk pre-trial detention center as before. He is to stay there until the authorities decide where Skrabets would serve the sentence.