The FIDH 7-minute film Bitter Winter in Belarus denounces the violent repression exercised by the Belarus authorities against all the dissident voices that have protested against the rigging of the December 19, 2010 presidential elections.
Following the announcement of the election results, about 700 persons demonstrating peacefully in the centre of Minsk to denounce electoral fraud, were arrested and sent to prison, many of them were severely beaten. Among them were seven opposition candidates, along with political activists, independent journalists and human rights defenders. Some of the activists received arbitrary prison sentences, while others had their offices raided and ravaged repeatedly by the security forces, without access to fair means of defence; all were subjected to threats on the part of the regime. President Lukashenko himself declared, the day after the election results were announced: “Lets finish the job! There shall be no more senseless democracy in the country! […] They shall all go to prison, in accordance with the law”.
Today the repression continues. Two former presidential candidates, Andrei Sannikov et Vladzimir Niaklayev are still respectively in detention and under house arrest. Several lawyers of the detained activists have had their licences withdrawn. The two independent newspapers “Nasha Niva” and “Narodnaya Volia” risk to be banned shortly. Six journalists have been accused of having participated in “massive disturbances of the peace”, and one of their colleagues has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. And the human rights defenders are more than ever targeted by the regime, and are interrogated, searched and subjected to smear campaigns broadcast, all day long on the public channels.
The FIDH web documentary shows damning testimonies of a society stifled by a regime that is trying at all costs to suppress all independent voices.
FIDH will shortly issue a detailed report on the repression.