Assaults on Civil Society

Mikalai Statkevich: “They won’t get a clemency petition from me”

svabodu_statkievichy

With a few-days’ break, Bialynichy journalist Barys Vyrvich got a letter and a postcard from Belarusian political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich, with whom he maintains a regulard correspondence.

In particular, in the letter Mr. Statkevich expressed his attitude to the liberation of the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski and wrote some interesting thoughts about the situation in our country and in the world in general.

“Like you, I am very glad at the release of Ales Bialiatski. I agree with you that my situation is quite different. There is a stalemate – the more they keep me, the more it costs them. On the other hand, the more they are afraid to release me. I will wait to see how it all ends. I know just one thing for sure – they won’t get a “petition” from me...

Read More

Czech Foreign Minister receives Ales Bialiatski

lubomir_zaoralek_s_alesem_bialiatskim

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, received Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski at the Czernin Palace on 5 August, 2014. Ales Bialiatski founded the most respected Belarusian human rights organization “Viasna”, which provides legal and financial support to the victims of Belarusian regime repressions.

The visit of Ales Bialiatski to the Czech Republic follows a few weeks after his release from jail. He was sentenced for 4.5 years in a trial based on fabricated charges in 2011. “Welcome in Prague and I am glad that you are free,” said Minister Zaorálek and added: “I would like to assure you that our support of democratic forces is permanent. I hope there will be a growing number of free thinking and pro-European people in your country.”

Among other topic...

Read More

Solidarity Day with Belarusian civil society : Ales Bialiatski urges people to support civil society in Belarus

solidarity-day-civil-society-belarus-logoeng

August 4, the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society and Human Rights Movement in Belarus, timed to the anniversary of the arrest of a recent political prisoner human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, is held in different countries of the world.

Conducting this day was initiated in 2012 by a coalition of non-governmental organizations of different countries to show solidarity with civilian forces in Belarus and moral support to human rights defenders and civil society activists, who continue to work in the country.

Solidarity of colleagues and unfamiliar people who supported us with their letters or through public actions, pickets, meetings with embassies and so on, means very much for all political prisoners, including myself“, said Ales Bialiatski in an interview with the ini...

Read More

“Viasna” activists banned from holding August 4 pickets in ten cities

Applications for pickets for release of political prisoners, filed by human rights activists within the framework of the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian civil society, were turned down by the local authorities in Navapolatsk, Vitsebsk, Homel, Mozyr, Rechytsa, Zhodzina, Barysau, Baranavichy, Smarhon and Mahiliou.

As stated by the coordinator of the regional offices of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Dzmitry Salauyou, the prohibitions have formal grounds and came as no surprise to the applicants. Absence of service contracts with law enforcement agencies, medical service and the public utilities – this reason is stated in refusals to all applications for mass events filed by civil society activists.

These grounds for banning pickets do not comply with the current legislation...

Read More

Independent Website Got Hacked Spreading False Info about Ukraine

Screenshot-eurobelarus

Editors of the website of the international consortium Eurobelarus informed about an unprecedented hacker attack: for several days anonyms were publishing provocative materials about Ukraine on www.eurobelarus.info and promoted the information on social nets.

According to the editor Andrei Alexandrovich, the attack started last Thursday.

“We noted an unusual rise of visitors viewing not the main page but some earlier article. It turned out that the article was of provocative character and was not published by any of our editors.”

The false article was telling as if Poles in Lviv region started a petition to join the region to Poland. “The most interesting thing is that the article was written quite professionally and was actively promoted on social nets,” says the editor.

Besides, the ano...

Read More

Vasil Parfiankou’s father: Solitary confinement and no letters allowed

parfiankou

The father of political prisoner Vasil Parfiankou spoke about the detention conditions of his son in an interview to Radio Liberty’s Belarus service.

He sent a letter a week ago. He says that our last letter was received back on April 30. So our letters are not delivered to him. Then we sent him newspapers by a registered letter on May 5. He said that he did not receive the registered letter, either. So it goes. He’s in solitary confinement and he sees no one. The watchmen take him to the prison yard to walk for 30 minutes, that’s all his contacts with the world. You can go crazy! Let it be on their conscience”.

Vasil Parfiankou is held in the colony in Horki...

Read More

Blogger’s Son Sentenced to Three Years’ Freedom Restriction and a Huge Fine

bloger-babrujsk-diffamatsia

On July 18, the Court of Babruisk completed the trial of Aliaksei Zhalnou, son of a local blogger Aleh Zhalnou.

Judge Yuliya Beraziuk sentenced the 25-year old man to three years in an open penal colony. Aliaksei Zhalnou will also have to pay a fine of 50 million rubles in damages (around $5000). The plaintiff, a road policeman Aliaksandr Butouski, asked to recover from Zhalnou 100 million rubles, and the prosecutor demanded four years in a penal colony as a punishment for the blogger’s son. Aliaksei Zhalnou has ten days to appeal the verdict.

An aggravating factor in the case of Aliaksei Zhalnou could be his previous conviction. The young man said that it was because of this fact in his biography that he was targeted by the traffic police in order to avenge his father...

Read More

Recently released human rights activist Ales Bialiatski concludes European tour in Warsaw

bialiacki_polshcha-b

Belarusian human rights activist, Ales Bialiatski, visited Warsaw from July 9 to 12 – the final stop in a European tour that has taken him to Vilnius, Brussels, Strasbourg and Paris since his unexpected release under an amnesty on June 21. Bialiatski had served three years of a 4.5 year sentence ontrumped-up charges of tax evasion.

Bialiatski, head of the Minsk-based Human Rights Center “Viasna”, came to Warsaw on the invitation of the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Stefan Batory Foundation. Here he met with top Polish politicians, including the Head of the President’s Office, Jacek Michalowski, Foreign Affairs Minister Radek Sikorski, as well as former Polish dissident Adam Michnik and other civil society representatives.

During an open meeting at the Batory Foundati...

Read More

Ales Bialiatski’s first visit to Poland after release from jail

bialiacki_polshcha-d

“For the three years I spent in prison, I was struck by the fact that many non-political, cultural, linguistic and social initiatives appeared in Belarus. This proves that our civil society develops,” stated Mr. Bialiatski at a meeting in Warsaw. His visit to the Polish capital completes the tour of the Belarusian human rights activist across European countries.

Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” came to Warsau on invitation of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Stefan Batory Foundation. The visit began on Wednesday, July 9, with a closed-door meeting with representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, at which the human rights sector discussed the situation in Belarus. “It was a friendly meeting with representatives of the human rights organization...

Read More

Political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich gets a meeting with his wife

svabodu_statkievichy

Maryna Statkevich had the first short-term meeting with her husband in Mahiliou prison for a year. Mikalai Statkevich is very glad that Ales Bialiatski was released from jail and asks to pass greetings to him.

This was a standard two-hour meeting through the glass and bars. Mikalai is in normal condition both physically and psychologically. I even think that he has become more handsome. After all, he understands exactly what he’s doing and has a clear vision of the situation. He is in harmony with himself. It looks like even his wrinkles get smoother,” said Mrs. Statkevich.

Former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich was sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly organizing mass riots in the day of the presidential elections on 19 December 2010...

Read More