Human rights activist Siarhei Housha and social activist Viktar Syrytsa received a letter signed by the deputy chairman of the Baranavichy City Executive Committee, Dz. Kastsiukevich. They were informed that the executive committee doesn’t permit holding an informational picket on 4 August 2013 in support of the imprisoned human rigths activist Ales Bialiatski, who has spent two years in prison already.
The official believes that the applicants have violated the decision of the Baranavichy CEC of 16 June 2009 No. 1497, “On the order of holding public events in Baranavichy”, according to which Lenin Street is not a place for public events.
Previously, we reported that the information event was planned in order to draw public attention to the problem of political prisoners in our country, which still holds 12 such persons.
“We planned to hold the rally in the city center, not in the unfrequented old park which was determined as the place for mass events by the executive committee. By our picket we also wanted to emphasize that in Belarus people are punished for their political views. And we intend to give moral support not only to Ales Bialiatski, but also to all political prisoners, which, we believe, were convicted illegally,” said human rights activist Siarhei Housha.
The previous two applications of the social activists to picket in support of Ales Bialiatski in 2012, weren’t satisfied by the Baranavichy City Executive Committee either.
Mahiliou human rights defenders Barys Bukhel and Aliaksei Kolchyn intended to hold an event calling for the release of human rights defender Ales Bialiatski 4 August in the city center.
However, in the answer signed by the manager of the Mahiliou CEC, Ihar Ausenka, it is stated that the authorities determined the place for public events, which is located on the outskirts of the city, at the “Khimik” stadium near house 64v in Chaliuskintsy Street, and that mass events were to be held there, not in the center of the the city.
Human rights activist Barys Bukhel notes that the the picket ban will be appealed.
“We have already prepared the relevant documents and will go to court, as we are guided by the Constitution and international legal acts in oour activities, not by some local orders which let representatives of the democratic forces of the city hold their public events only in deserted places. We plan to reach the UN Human Rigths Committee,” says Barys Bukhel.
Vitsebsk executive authorities banned four pickets of solidarity with the imprisoned Viasna leader Ales Bialiatski expected to be held by local human rights defenders Pavel Levinau and Leanid Svetsik. The pickets were scheduled for August 4.
Pavel Levinau, a representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee in Vitsebsk and Vitsebsk region, filed three applications in various district administrations of the city. Another bid was sent to the administration of Kastrychnitski district by local human rights activist Leanid Svetsik. All the four pickets were banned on the grounds that the applicants failed to sign maintenance agreements, as required by the city executive committee’s decision.
The decision of July 10, 2009 runs counter to the Belarusian legislation, as it does not allow citizens to exercise their right to public expression, say the human rights activists. Thus, according to this decision, the organizers must submit (along with the application) to the district administration the copies of contracts for maintenance activities. However, the responsible authorities refuse to enter into agreements with the activists for various reasons. In a couple of instances, the authorities directly said that they would not sign any contracts until there are no positive decisions from the district administrations.
Vitsebsk activists have been trying to amend the restrictions for many years. As yet, not a single street event has been allowed in Vitsebsk over the past three years.
Zhodzina activists intended to hold their picket at 6-7 p.m on 4 August near the main concert venue of the City Park of Culture and Rest.
One of the organizers, Aliaksei Lapitski, says that the local continue deliberately and willfully continue making artificial insurmountable obstacles in the realization of citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms.
On 29 July the action organizers went to the Main Post Office to receive a letter from the city hospital, and were also given a letter from the Zhodzina City Executive Committee. Both letters werre dated 27 July, but weren’t delivered earlier.
The Deputy Chief Physician of the city hospital U. Tsyolta answered the application of the human rights defenders for concluding a service contract, necessary according to paragraph 5 of ruling No. 1020 of the Zhodzina City Executive Committee about the order of holding mass events. The answer contained a detailed calculation of the costs for serving the picket, whose total sum is 370,000 rubles.
The administration of the public utilities also gave an answer, noting their “incompetence in drafting contracts for cleaning services after holding the public event”.
As a result, the Zhodzina CEC banned the action, as far as the documents, filed by the organizers, didn’t correspond to paragraph 5 of decision No. 1020 which requires entering into service contracts with the police, public utilities and medics. The ban is dated 25 July 2013 and signed by the first deputy head of the CEC on ideology, A. Shara.
Aliaksei Lapitski immediately filed an application to the Zhodzina City Executive Committee with the proposal to consider the answers he had received from the police, public utilities and medics as evidence of the impossibility to fulfill these demands, properly consider the application for holding the public event on 4 August and take a positive decision on it.