18 January 2021, Monday, 10:06
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Deutsche Welle: Belarusian authorities continue persecution of oppositionists

Despite of the “liberalization” announced by the authorities, Belarus continues violations of human rights of politically active citizens. Detentions, arrests, dismissal from work and requests to grant political asylum aboard have become an everyday reality.

At the consultations with the body of active functionaries of Vitsebsk region, Alyaksandr Lukashenka called his main goal defence of “the right of people for decent salary, for living freely and say the things one wants”. But in reality the situation is different, Deutsche Welle informs.

The example for that is detention of young activists who organise solidarity rallies in support of Alyaksandr Barazenka every evening. He stays in the remand prison on charges related to participation in mass protests of market vendors that were held in Minsk in January this year. On December 8 Barazenka is to stand trial in the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk.

Law-enforcers detained about two dozens of people for participation in rallies of solidarity with Barazenka held on December 19, 22 and 24. Some of protesters were detained with the held of brutal force. Among the detained there were activists of the “Young Front” Alyaksei Yanusheuski, Ivan Shyla and others. However, no reports were drawn up against them, and no trials held.

“Pinned on” case

On November 24 an activist of the “European Belarus” campaign Yauhen Afnagel was called in the police department of Savetski district of Minsk without explanation of reasons. There he was told that he is a suspect in a criminal case (theft offence), about which he had no idea at all. Investigator Adzinets told to the young man that on April 16 at the territory of Savetski district of Minsk a theft took place. An underage teenager identified Afnagel at video footage made by the police department when he was detained for participation in one of the mass rallies.

Yauhen explained that April 16 was the first day of the well-known Process of Fourteen, and he was in the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk almost the whole day, that is why he has an alibi which could be confirmed by dozens of people.

He called such actions of the regime a new way of pressure on oppositional activists.

“It is completely possible that people would be imprisoned and prosecuted on articles relating usual crimes, not politically motivated, in order to make it harder to prove later that we are political prisoners. It is the new strategy against opposition activists,” Yauhen Afnagel said.

Detentions for pickets

On the same day in Minsk near the office of MTS mobile service provider was held. Participants urged to provide services in Belarusian. Policemen arrived to the scene and arrested 6 out of 20 participants of the picket. Among the detained were Franak Vyachorka, “Moladz BNF” leader, and one of the leaders of the Young Front Ivan Shyla and others. In the police department of Pershamajski district oppositionists were kept for more than an hour, and after their passport details were copied, they were released.

In the end of the protest “Nuremberg trial over Communism!” held in front of the Supreme Court on November 21, guards of the court detained an underage activist of the “Young Front” Yuliya Mikhajlava, who was making pictures of the events. After some time a deputy chairman of the organisation Nasta Palazhanka entered the Supreme Court to find out what had happened to the girl, however guards didn’t allow her to go out. After a conversation with the KGB officers Nasta Palazhanka was released, and Yuliya Mikhajlava was taken to the police department of Leninski district of Minsk. Then she was released without a report being drawn up.

New political emigrants

Another fact that proves that the situation with human rights in Belarus hasn’t improved considerably, is the request by two activists of Hrodna branch of the United Civil Party Viktar Padchynenkau and Uladzimir Laryn to grant them political asylum abroad. Laryn stays in Antwerp, Belgium, while Padchynenkau stays in Amsterdam.

“Padchynenkau was a “candidates for deputies” from the single list, and Laryn was the leader of his electoral headquarters. The first one had been forced to quit job, and pressure of the KGB against the both of them started. There were attempts to force Laryn to cooperate with the KGB which lasted for a year. That is why they have done their choice,” the chairman of the UCP Anatol Lyabedzka said.

As said by him, “it is not seizing the occasion, it is a reaction to the situation in the country today. So it is still too early to respond to rhetoric of the Belarusian authorities positively. People have to leave the county without having their personal desire to do leave”.