On the eve of the presidential elections in Belarus the authorities have consolidated State repressions against opposition members, mainly youth activists. Youth organisations are considered to be a real threat to the regime as declared the chairman of KGB. That is why a number of young people have experienced the terroristic methods of the lawless regime. Recently four activists of Young Front have been imprisoned and put on trial as criminals on vain pretexts. A great number of people have been arrested after the election campaign have started.
The main reason for the arrests is the support of the candidate of the united opposition forces for the presidential elections A. Milinkevich. Young Front members belong to the election headquarters in the regions of the candidate, they collect signatures in support of the opponent of A. Lukashenka and form a strong political movement of youth. By sending politicaly active leaders to prison the regime tries to frighten those, who continue promotion of democracy, struggle for justice of law and defend human rights. Criminal cases are fabricating against two members of Young Front administration Artur Finkevich and Aliaksej Yanusheuski. They have been arrested and indicted for having written on the fences “Fed up with him!” and “We want the new!”. They face from 3 to 6 years of imprisonment or correction sentence with hard labour! Similar to Artur Finkevich and Aliaksej Yanusheuski cases’ is the case of the leader of Young Front Zmitser Kaspiarovich. He has been arrested and accused for the desecration of the State symbol and faces up to 3 years of imprisonment or correction sentence with hard labour.
Being politicaly motivated, simple administrative cases are turned into criminal ones for the purpose of isolation of the key persons of the organisation and keep in fear the other activists. For having organized peaceful street actions in a protest against falsification of the results of the elections and referendum Paval Seviarynets was sentenced to two years of hard labour. For half a year a famous politician, a writer, the leader of Young Front have been serving his term in a god-forsaken village, far from mobile phones, television, Internet, feeling trees from dawn till night. In the situation of information blockade stickers and graffiti are considered to be the most effective instrument of informing citizens about processes in the society. As a response to the terror youth organizations Young Front declared, in its turn, the beginning of the campaigns “Fed up!” and “We want the new!”. Together with the resistance movement Zubr young people show their attitude to the political situation in the country. Graffiti, stickers, leaflets, newspapers have been emerging now all over the country showing real mood of many people and saying that belarusian youth craves for changes and wish to live in a free and democratic Belarus.
In the next part you will find a brief chronological outline of the main events of the last weeks.
The presidential elections are sheduled for March 19, neverthless the regime tries to intimidate politicaly active people and abandon their active citizenship in order to keep belarusian citizens in informational isolation during the election campaign. Young Front have experienced undemocratic methods of treatement for expressing their civil opinion in the support of the opponent of A. Lukashenka, the candidate of the united opposition forces for the presidential elections A. Milinkevich. Thus, continuous persecution and harassement have resulted in preventive arrests of a number of activists.
On February 20, 2006 it was announced that not but one representative of opposition would be in the election commission. This means that falcification of the results can be easily made as under the circumstances there is no transparent voting as well as no fair vote counting procedure.
On February 20, 2006 in Zhodzina fifteen years old scholboy Dzianis Charkas was dertained for stickers “I am for freedom!” on his exercise-books. During the foreign language lesson at school two policemen were searching his backpack and than took to the police. He was accused of spreading the stickers and detained for an hour. He was threatened with arrest and told that his relatives may have problems in future.
On February 18, 2006 Yaugen Skrabutan was expelled from the Yanka Kupala University in Hrodno. The student of the filological departement with major in belarusian studies was expelled for violation the university regulations. In fact, the reason for expelling was the following: on February 13, 2006 he was accused of illegal agitation, spreading the material without date-line and fined.
One more politicaly motivated expel from the university took place in Baranavichi. Siarzhuk Marynich, the leader of Baranavichi democratic movement Young Front, was informed that he had been expelled from the Baranavichi State University. Thus, young people, who make politics, have no possibility to receive education in the state institutions. The authorities keep putting presure on youth and isolate them from the society.
On February 16, 2006 The Day of Solidarity with political prisoners, disappeared oppositionists and their families, independent journalists and with all who struggle for liberty and democracy was held in Belarus. Youth movements Young Front and Zubr called all people who were not indifferent to the fates of the dissappeared persons Yuryj Zacharanka, Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasouski, Zmitryj Zavadski as well as to the political prisoners Michail Marynich, Andrej Klimau, Mikola Statkevich, Paval Sieviarynets, Siargej Skrabets and Valeryj Lievanieuski (Valery Levaneuski) to come to the October Square in Minsk and light candles of freedom.
At 8 p.m. the light was switched off in the windows of hundreds of thousands of the Belarusians, and candles of freedom where lit. Hundreds of people gathered in the streets of other belarusian cities and towns that on that day. They held burning candles in their hands, they wore jeans ribbons, which had become a symbol of freedom in Belarus.
The authorities sent against peaceful protesters who came to express for their view on the situation in the country hundreds of policemen. 24 participants of the action of solidarity were detained. Four of the young activists passed the night in police departments of Minsk. Activists of the Young Front Aleh Korban, Pavel Fihuryn and Barys Haretski were sentenced to 10 days of arrest each by the court. Judges turned a blind eye to untruthful evidence of riot policemen and found the Young Front activists guilty of hooliganism (Article 156 of the Administrative Code).
Aleh Myatselitsa, one of the leaders of the Zubr resistance movement was detained and sentenced to 15 days of arrest. Judge found him guilty of violation of the Article 156 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism) despite of the fact the witnesses, policemen could not even say where he was detained.
Arrested activists said that policemen and riot policemen of the special task regiment were very obusive during the action. They insulted participants of the action of solidarity, threatened, and put the arm on detainees. In Skaryna (Independence) Avenue riot policemen candles from the hands of rally participants. During detentions some of the activists were beaten up and kicked.
Similar actions of solidarity with struggling for freedom and democracy Belarus took place in Europe, the USA and Canada. That day people came to Belarusian Embassies, to the central squares of their cities in order to support Belarusian political prisoners, activists and those, who had disappeared without traces or had been repressed. By showing their support for democratic movements of the country Europe, the USA and Canada help belarusians and politicaly active citizens overcome isolation and promote basic principles of democracy - human rights, civil rights and liberties of people and law superiority.
On the eve of the election campaign the regime terrorizes and throws obstacles in the most active young people’s way by casting them to prizon for voicing their civil opinion. During the actions of protest against State repressions a number of activists were detained and found guilty of administrative and even criminal infringement of law.
On February 13, 2006 the leader of Young Front Yaugen Skrabutan was on the trial for having 5 thousands calendars with the picture of A. Milinkevich and words: Love Belarus. He was accused of illegal agitation (Article 167 of the Administrative Code), spreading the material without date-line (Article 173 of the Administrative Code) and was imposed a fine of 290 thousands roubles.
More and more graffiti and stickers “Fed up with him!” and “We want the new!” have been emerging in Minsk city and other cities and towns of the republic. For these actions people have been arrested and punished. Thus, the member of Young Front and BPF Aliaksej Trubkin was arrested in Navapolatsk for attaching a sticker “We want the new!” to a notice board.
In order to investigate and cope with those who had spread the stickers, some spesial task policemen were sent to Soligorsk. The authorities have fear for a great number of stickers and graffiti, which had emerged in the town.
On February 12, 2006 five activists of Young Front Aleg Dzemchanka, Ales Pazniak, Ksenia Palash, Ales Svita and Mikalaj Kastylenka were arrested for sticking announcement with the invitation to come to October Square and light up a candle on the Day of Solidarity. It is evident, that the regime violates human rights and democratic principles for fear to lose control of the information sources, when instead of common propaganda people will know the other views and moods in the society.
On February 11, 2006 the co-chairman of Young Front Zmitser Dashkevich and the father of the leader of Soligorsk Young Front Uladzimer Shyla were detained by two KGB officials from Minsk, policemen of Criminal Investigation Department and two police cars. Having seized agitational materials they were released in four hours. On February 10, 2006 four members of Young Front were detained in Soligorsk for wearing jeans bandages. Everyone who wears jeans bandages is now suspected by police and regarded as a criminal who undermine president’s and his regime’s authority.
February 2, 2006, Administrations of student hostels are trying to forbid students participation in Days of Solidarity held on the 16th day of every month. Recently all monitors of the hostel number 8 of Belarusian National Technical University were informed that students are prohibited to light candles on the Day of Solidarity on February 16. The administration of the hostel threatened that in case candles would be noticed in the windows, students would be thrown out immediately.
On February 1, 2006 in Minsk two members of Young Front administration Artur Finkevich and Aliaksej Yanusheuski were arrested and indicted for having written on the fences “Fed up with him!” and “We want the new!”. Artur Finkevich and Aliaksej Yanusheuski were put in jail to wait for the trial. They face from 3 to 6 years of imprisonment or correction sentence with hard labour!
On January 24, 2006 a leader of Young Front Zmitser Kaspiarovich was accused of desecration of the State symbol (Article 370 of the Criminal Code). He was suspected to have changed a present day flag on the city administration building and have put a white-red-white one, which was a historic symbol of independent and free Belarus. He faces up to 3 years of imprisonment or correction sentence with hard labour. The trial was scheduled for February 27, 2006.
More preventive arrests of a number of oppositionists are expected. Andrey Sannikov the coordinator of the civil initiative Charter’97 has stated that the special services have a list of persons subjected to isolation under any pretexts. Activists and leaders of Young Front and Zubr have been imprisoned on vain pretexts.
After arrests provocations are prepared with the aim to increase the term of their imprisonment to the maximum. Such a provocation has already been carried out against one of the leaders of the Union of Poles Tadeusz Gawin. As a result instead of 15 days, he spent a month in prison.
Obviously, that State authorities aim to neutralize the most active leaders of democratic movements and organizations keeping them in isolation from their colleagues, citizens and members of international organisations. This notwithstanding, youth of Belarus continues struggling for freedom and democracy. With encouragement and support of democratic Europe Belarus will reach its prosperity, sovereignity, independence and will become a democratic state integrated into Europe.
Press-cutting service of Young Front
The additional information
Valery Levaneuski - Belarussian political and social activist, former political prisoner. Amnesty International recognizes him as a prisoner of conscience
On 7 September 2004, he was sentenced to two years in prison for publicly insulting the president of Belarus (A.Lukashenko). The judge decreed that a leaflet which Levaneuski had distributed prior to demonstrations on 1 May 2004 in particular contained a text:
“come and say that you are against ’somebody’ going on holiday skiing in Austria and having a good time at your cost”
Since Alexander Lukashenko is known to have spent his holidays in Austria, the judge decide that leaflet contains a public insult to the President.
On 16 September 2004 European Parliament calls on the Belarus authorities to release immediately Valery Levaneuski and all other imprisoned political opponents of the regime.
Valery Levaneuski - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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