The Santa Claus Association confessed the Ministry of Justice to acting on behalf of unregistered organization.
On October 15, 15 Belarusian human rights activists dressed as Santa Clauses and Snegurochkas came to the Generals Prosecutor’s Office and handed in a petition.
The petition says all participants of the action are members of the unregistered association of Santa Clauses. “We have been carrying out the next activities: organising New Year’s Eve parties in deferent towns of Belarus, handing out gifts (including among the minors), making speeches at meetings and in the press with congratulations,” the statement to the prosecutor general says, BelaPAN reports.
According to participants of the action, they have learnt that activity on behalf of unregistered public organization is forbidden in Belarus and provides responsibility in accordance with article 193-1 of the Criminal Code. “In this respect, we decided to confess to belonging to unregistered association of Santa Clauses. We ask to give a legal evaluation of our activity,” the authors write.
The statement was signed by famous Belarusian human rights activists. In particular, Valer Shchukin said he was “ready to serve punishment for being Santa Claus”. Lawyer Yury Chavusau said article 193-1 was “absurd” and must be cancelled. Human rights activist Valyantsin Stefanovich said the action was aimed at showing inadmissibility of article 193-1 in modern society, as this article provides responsibility for any group of people.
An unknown man ion mufti tried to detain photo correspondent Uladzimir Hrydzin during the action.
The man didn’t introduced himself, grabbed Hrydzin by his jacket and said he was taking pictures of the “regime object”, the building of the General Prosecutor’s Office. The man in mufti looked through all pictures, convinced there were no photos of the building and set Hrydzin free.
We remind that under article 193-1 of the Criminal Code, remaining in effect for some years, dozens of opposition and human rights activists have been sentenced to restriction of liberty and imprisonment in Belarus.