On March 10 former deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the 12th convocation, a trade union leader Syarhei Antonchyk was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest by judge of Maskouski district court of Minsk Nadzeja Ravutskaya. She charged him with violation of the Article 166 of the Administrative Code (insubordination to demands of policemen). The UCP press service informs that yesterday in Kalinkavichy (Homel region) the member of the UCP (United Civil Party) Alyaksei Manevich and the BPF party activist Dzyanis Rabinka. Human rights activists call these processes “total lawlessness”, and opposition leaders say that repressions would not stop the Belarusians on their way to changes. “The actions of the authorities are illegal. They are trying to imprison activists of the election campaign using any pretext. But it’s impossible to stop the wave of people’s discontent and desire for changes. They cannot imprison everyone. The nation is against the regime, and the changes in Belarus are inevitable,” told the single democratic candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich in an interview to the Charyter’97 press center, commenting on the recent arrests of the campaign activists.
More than 500 Barysau dwellers gathered for a meeting with Anatol Lyabedzka, an electioneering agent of the single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich. It is a rather big number of voters, considering that this meeting was held in the outskirts of the town, in the House of Culture of the science and production association “Ekran”. It shows that citizen’s interest to the developments in Belarus is great. As Anatol Lyabedzka noted, “it reminds the beginning of the 90ies, when millions of people were interested in politics”. A well-known person in Barysau, an electioneering agent of the single democratic candidate Leu Marholin was the facilitator of the meeting.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry refused to give accreditation to journalists of Polish weekly “Tygodnik Powszechny” Malgorzata Nocun and Andrzej Brzeziecki. The reporters submitted all necessary documents for receiving accreditation several weeks ago. They were told that the decision would be made on February 25. However, on February 28 and later they were told that the decision is not passed.
In a spartan flat in Belarus, a country that America calls Europe`s last dictatorship, seven bright young actors and actresses are risking their jobs, their health and their freedom to rehearse a new play.
“March 19 - Your choice!” - such signatures appear in Mahiliou. At the same time thousands of stickers that call to come to Kastrychnitskaya square of Minsk on March 19 at 8 p.m. to sum up results of elections.
Today in one of the interactive programs of the Minsk-based “Alfa Radio” words of support to the leader of Belarusian democratic forces, the single candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich have been said. The Charter’97 press center was informed about that by the headquarters of the single candidate.
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, US Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, will lead the OSCE observer missions to the Presidential elections in Belarus on March 19 and to the Parliamentary elections in Ukraine on March 26. Congressman Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, will act as the Special Co-ordinator of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht. As the Special Co-ordinator, Mr. Hastings will deliver the preliminary conclusions of the International Election Observation Mission on the day following the elections.
Mass dissemination of information about forcible abductions of opposition leaders and a journalist in Belarus is underway in Belarus. In the busy spots of Minsk posters with portraits of high-ranking Belarusian officials and law-enforcers suspected of implication in these abductions by the world community. Such posters are distributed in the countries of Europe now.
The deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the 12th convocation Syarhei Antonchyk is sentenced to 15 days of arrest by judge of the court of Maskouski district of Minsk Nadzeja Ravutskaya (Reutskaya). The oppositionist and his son were seized by riot policemen in plainclothes right in front of their house. In the report riot policemen wrote that Antonchyk disobeyed their demands to show ID, though they were in plainclothes and in their turn had not showed their credentials. Observers note that most likely the law-enforcing agencies are carrying out arrests in the run-up to the March 19 according to some “lists”. Syarhei Antonchyk is sure to be on them as a leader of workers who organized strikes of workers in 1991.
The meeting of the single democratic candidate for presidency Alyaksandr Milinkevich with voters in Brest is to take place on March 11 at the noon in the Palace of Trade Union. City authorities were compelled to provide premises the team of the single candidate, as Brest city executive committee has received about a thousand of signatures of Brest dwellers, who stated about their wish to meet with Milinkevich.
Despite the resistance of the powers, the meeting of democratic forces united candidate for the President’s post Alyaxandr Milinkevich with Gomel dwellers is to take place March 14, in the Rebellion Square, as Uladzimer Katsora, the head of Gomel regional election Headquarters of Alyaxandr Milinkevich, informed the Charter 97 press center.
According to Anatol Liabedzka, the UCP leader, charge d’affaires of democratic forces united candidate Alyaxandr Milinkevich, after the victory of the democrats a law may be adopted according to which those repressed will have all financial and moral costs reimbursed at the expense of the judges.
Today in Minsk riot policemen detained a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the 12th convocation Syarhei Antonchyk. The reason of his detention is unknown. However, the police department of Maskouski district of Minsk confirmed that Mr Antonchyk has been detained and taken to the court of Maskouski district. As said by duty policemen, former deputy is charged with violation of the Article 166 (insubordination to policemen’s demands). Human rights watchdogs link detention and the quick trial over Antonchyk with the authorities’ desire to isolate opposition leaders in the run-up to the elections.
A picture of the judge of Maskouski district of Minsk, Nadzeja Ravutskaya (Nadezhda Revutskaya) was received by the Charter’97 press center today. This judge has sentenced Vintsuk Vyachorka, the leader of the Belarusian Popular Front party, an electioneering agent of the single democratic candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich, and six activists of his campaign headquarters, to 15 days of arrest. In violation of the Electoral Code, judge Ravutskaya charged activists of the election campaign with organizing and taking part in “unsanctioned assembly” for their participating in the meeting of the candidate with voters. Judge of the court of Partyzanski district, Mikalay Trubnikau, has indicted three more activists for violation of the same article.
Rene van der Linden, President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), today condemned actions aimed at creating a climate of intimidation by the Lukashenko regime against opposition candidates ahead of the presidential election in Belarus, following the arrest and trial of Vincuk Viachorka, Chair of the Belarusian Popular National Front Party and an aide of presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich.
On the eve of the presidential election the harassment the opponents of Lukashenka’s regime acquired violent forms. On 21 February the unprecedented wave of pressurization and intimidation covered the country. Workers of KGB and police searched private flats and offices of public activists in Navapolatsk, Brest, Mahiliou, Zhlobin, Minsk and other towns and cities of Belarus. They confiscated the information carriers, computer equipment, printed production and documents. The formal reason for the searched was the order for searches that was issued by Minsk City Procurator’s Office in connection with the case that was brought on part 1 of article 367 of the Criminal Code - defamation of president of the Republic of Belarus in a public speech, printed edition or publicly demonstrated artwork. KGB workers detained and interrogated as witnesses dozens of public activists all over the country. They openly pressurized the detainees. The massive action of intimidation takes place against the background of libelous and tendentious information of the state mass media about representatives of the Belarusian democratic opposition and civil society. Belarus hasn’t experienced such informational terror since Stalin’s times.
HRC Viasna obtained the information that on 9 March Piatro M. returned from school with his friends. He stuck a sticker to a lamp-post and was seized by a policeman. The friends managed to flee. The detainee was taken to a police station. There the police called names, demanding from him to give to them the stickers. Then they examined the child`s pockets, took out the stickers and let him go.
Maidan International welcomes Central European newspapers` solidarity with Belarusian civic activists. Central European newspapers line up with Belarusian cartoonists to show solidarity with the people, who were, and still are, abused by the brutal regime of Belarus` president Aleksander Lukashenko.
At 5 p.m. in Savetskaia St. 17, opposite Baranavichy City Executive Committee the agitators for Milinkevioch Iryna Laurouskaia, Kanstantsin Turchaniak, Siarhei Vakulenka and Uladzimir Vialichkin were insulted and intimidated by two women, who also tried to tear off and destroy the agitation materials. They even demonstratively tore one of the fly-sheets. The agitators had to call the police. The women tried to flee and hid in the building of Baranavichy City Executive Committee. One of them the police found in a lavatory. It was the worker of the ideological department of the executive committee Larysa Antonava. The other one was found later - it was the chair of the ideological department Tatsiana Zhytko.
Belarus is a riddle. How has an Eastern European country the size of England and Wales managed to preserve a Soviet-style dictatorship and a thinly disguised command economy for 17 years while each of its four western neighbours has undergone a revolution or rapid economic transformation — or both?
Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov met with top officials in Belarus on Tuesday and said he was sure voters in the country would make the “right choice” in the upcoming presidential election, which pits incumbent Alexander Lukashenko against opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich.
March 9, at a Bundestag session German parliamentarians claimed the Belarusian President’s election is not likely to be held in compliance with the international standards. They emphasized the importance of independent observation of the election and resolved to delegate seven Bundestag deputies to Minsk. In general, about 40 German experts are to take part in the election observation.
As the text of the special resolution signed by all parliamentary factions, except for the Left parties, implies, the election campaign is held within the major pressure on the regime’s advisories, thus raising great concern in Germany.
According to the statement edited Thursday in Brussels by Austria on behalf of the EU, presided by this country at present, the European Union urged the Belarusian power to ensure the right of the Belarusian people for freedom of meetings and expression and to take all measures necessary for providing personal security of participants of peaceful demonstrations of the candidates for the president’s post.