21 February 2018, Wednesday, 10:21
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HR Defenders: Situation With Human Rights In Belarus Seriously Deteriorated

PHOTO: AP

The Belarusian authorities continue political repression against dissenters.

During the year 2017, the situation with human rights in Belarus significantly worsened compared to the previous period of the so-called “soft practices” that began in August 2015 and ended with the start of mass actions of “non-parasites”.

This is noted in the annual report of the human rights center “Viasna”.

According to human rights activists, the wave of protest actions against the imposing of Decree #3, which swept across many cities of the country, was perceived by the authorities as a serious threat of destabilization of the domestic political situation in the country, which led to the beginning of repression of protesters, activists and opposition leaders, independent journalists and human rights defenders.

In total, during March 2017, more than 900 people were subjected to one or another form of repression (including Freedom Day on March 25 in Minsk). During 2017, more than 600 cases of bringing citizens to administrative responsibility in connection with the implementation of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression of opinions were recorded, in more than 250 cases, judges sentenced citizens to arrest.

In 2017, the Belarusian authorities actively practiced and politically motivated criminal prosecution. According to the information of the HRC “Viasna”, this type of repression was applied against 40 citizens. 35 of them were detained on March 21-24, 2017 and detained in the remand prison in the case of “preparation of mass riots”.

Separately, human rights activists pay attention to the still not stopped criminal case against the activists of the independent trade union REP Henadz Fiadynich and Ihar Komlik, started under part 2 of Art. 243 of the Criminal Code (especially large-scaled tax evasion).

In 2017, human rights activists recorded numerous cases of harassment of independent mass media journalists in connection with their professional activities.

We emphasize that the journalists of Belsat suffered more than others - the number of fines assigned to our colleagues exceeded 85.

At present, political prisoners Mikhail Zhamchuzhny and prisoner of conscience Dzmitry Paliyenka, recognized by the international human rights organization Amnesty International, are still imprisoned.

As for the problem of the death penalty, despite the continuation of the dialogue with the EU and PACE and calls for a moratorium, this type of punishment continued to be applied throughout the year in Belarus. In 2017 three new death sentences were pronounced, and one was carried out.