Peaceful assembly

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly continues to be violated in Belarus, as human rights defenders, journalists, members of trade unions, etc., are repeatedly prohibited from gathering. Most peaceful demonstrations that take place are repressed by law enforcement officials, and demonstrators are subjected to arrests and judicial harassment.

Please see the below articles on the situation of peaceful assembly in Belarus:

Activist fined for a picket to remind about the disappearance of journalist Dzmitry Zavadsky

The judge of the Soviet district court in Minsk Tatsiana Palulekh fined the activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy’s organizing committee, Pavel Prakapovich, for an unsanctioned one-man picket which he held to remind about the disappearance of the journalist Dzmitry Zavadsky 13 years ago.

On July 7 in the evening Pavel Prakapovich went out to the one of the central places of Minsk, Yakub Kolas square, with a portrait of the disappeared journalist.

He was detained and sent to the Akrestsina detention center; he was able to inform about the detention only in the next morning.

At the trial he admitted holding the action, but underlined that he had not violated the public order, but just expressed his opinion, holding the portrait of the disappeared journalist.

He was found guilty ...

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Belarus : preventative supervision of activists – one wrong step can bring you back to jail

As the convictions of 24 political prisoners pardoned by the Belarusian President since August 2011 have not been expunged, a number of procedural measures have followed them as individuals with a criminal record. All individuals released have been placed on watch lists, giving police officials the right to visit them. If they are brought in on administrative charges three times in one year, they face preventative supervision, which carries more serious restrictions.

Courts have placed three activists under preventative supervision for administrative violations connected with their social activism. Violation of this regime, which places significant restrictions on the freedom of the activists, may entail repeated arrest and imprisonment. These activists are:

1) Pavel Vinahradau – Activist...

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FIDH and Viasna demand to drop charges against those convicted after Chernobyl Way March

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Paris-Minsk – 30 April 2013 - FIDH and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” demand that charges against six people, including two journalists, one human rights defender and one activist, be dropped in relation to their engagement in this years annual commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

 “Human rights organisations who observed the demonstration on the day stated that it had been conducted peacefully, without incident and in full compliance with the authorization issued by Minsk city executive authorities. I therefore believe that the detention and further administrative arrests of participants in this approved peaceful rally are wholly unlawful and an outrage to citizens’ constitutional rights...

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Chernobyl Way rally: journalist and activists detained

This year the traditional Chernobyl Way rally held in Minsk on April 26 was quite rough.

Before the rally, many activists of the ecological movement opposed to the construction of the nuclear plant had been detained. For example, chairperson of the Council of Ekodom Iryna Sukhiy, activists Vasil Siniukhin, Kanstantsin Kirylenka and Volga Kaskevich were arrested in front of their buildings. They were kept in the Piershamaiski police department and released right when the Chernobyl Way was over. Other ecologists, blocked in their apartments, couldn’t join the demonstration. The ecologists had intended to protest against the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus during the Chernobyl Way rally 2013.

Earlier today in the town of Astraviets of the Grodna region where the nuclear p...

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Arrests of ecological activists in Minsk

On April 26, 2013, officer of the criminal investigation police burst into the flat with ecological activists opposed to the construction of the nuclear plant in Belarus.

The chairperson of the Council of Ekodom Iryna Sukhiy, activists Vasil Siniukhin, Kanstantsin Kirylenka and Volga Kaskevich have been detained in a flat in Minsk centre close to the route of the Chernobyl Way rally. All of them were ordered to get into a grey minibus without registration plates.

By 9 p.m, when the protest rally was over, all of ecological activists were released from Pershamaiski police department.

Tatsiana Novikava, a coordinator of the Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign, commented to charter97.org on detentions of ecological activists ahead of the Chernobyl Way rally :

“It is not the first time when ecolo...

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Young activist Pavel Vinahradaw sentenced to 12 days in jail

A judge of the Tsentralny District Court on Tuesday sentenced prominent young opposition activist Pavel Vinahradaw to 12 days in jail for planting a white-red-white flag and an image of political prisoner Mikalay Statkevich in downtown Minsk the previous day, BelaPAN said.

The 24-year-old leader of Zmena (Change), the youth wing of the “Tell the Truth!” movement, was found guilty of acting in violation of regulations governing demonstrations.

According to Judge Viktoryya Shabunya, by displaying the image over an entrance to the Nyamiha subway station, the young man staged an unsanctioned demonstration.

Mr. Vinahradaw was arrested near his house at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday. The arrest was made by police officers who guard subway stations.

In May 2011, Pavel Vinahradaw was sentenced to fou...

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Amnesty International: Silencing civil society in Belarus

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Civil society is being suppressed in Belarus by a repressive government that will not tolerate any form of criticism, Amnesty International said today.

The report, What is not permitted is prohibited: Silencing civil society in Belarus, shows how the authorities in Belarus regularly deny the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, preventing people from speaking out in public, holding demonstrations or setting up civil organizations. Peaceful demonstrators frequently face fines or even prison sentences.

Over the past 20 years, the government of Belarus has increasingly suffocated all aspects of civil society, depriving its people of the opportunity to express their opinions, to contribute to public debate and ultimately to act as a check on the authorities,” ...

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NAVAPOLATSK ACTIVISTS FINED 2,5 MLN FOR SOLIDARITY WITH BIALIATSKI

Navapolatsk Town Court sentenced today local pro-democratic activist Siarhei Malashenka to a fine of 2.5 mln rubles. It was another sentence for an action staged by local activists, who following the example of Hrodna human rights defenders, took pictures with portraits of Ales Bialiatski in their hands. After the photos of Yauhen Parchynski and Siarhei Malashenka were posted online, both were charged with illegal picketing.

Yauhen Parchynski was fined 500,000 rubles on 24 January.

“It is the second time I have been tried for illegal picketing this year. The first fine was in October for trying to hang a banner “Freedom to Political Prisoners!” Then I was fined 300,000, and I am currently appealing the decision. I will appeal today’s verdict, too...

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NAVAPOLATSK POLICE ALSO TRACE SOLIDARITY ACTIONS THROUGH INTERNET

The Navapolatsk activist Yauhen Parchynski was summonsed to the police for photos with portraits of Bialiatski at the entrance of the Navapolatsk City Court. Another participant of the action, Siarhei Malashonak, says he is ready to any development of the events, including a trial and a fine.

The police showed to Yauhen Parhynski photos that were printed from websites:

The head of the public security department Yury Peniaz showed me the print-outs and put down my explanations. I didn’t refute anythings: yes, there was an action with Ales Bialiatski and the Hrodna human rights defenders who had been fined on the basis of such “Internet evidence” of an unauthorized event. My explanations were put down in a police report, but I don’t know whether an administrative case has been brought.

The a...

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HRODNA: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS GET FINED 4.5 MILLION RUBLES FOR A PHOTO ON THE WEB

On January 5 the Leninski District Court of Hrodna considered administrative cases against the Hrodna human rights activists Uladzimir Khilmanovich, Viktar Sazonau and Raman Yurhel.

Their “guilt” was that they had photographed themselves with portraits of Ales Bialiatski and brochures of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, the Human Rights Day.

The Hrodna police considered it as an unauthorized picket. On December 18 they drew up “reports of questioning” on the activists, and on December 19 they were familiarized with “accusation reports”. All three cases were amalgamated in one court process, led by the judge Vital Liatsko. The trial lasted for about 2.5 hours...

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