Belarus Presidential Repressions 2006

Michael Batiukov

Belarusian Human Rights Center "Vyasna" has presented the report "President of Belarus Elections Campaign Repressions, 2006" in which shows the number of people, who were arrested days before elections, during mass protest actions against falsifications of the results of the elections and after elections.

Before the election campaign on March 19th, 2006 in Minsk 236 youth activists and people representing opposition candidates were penalized and arrested for a period from 4 to 15 days.

From the date of elections on March, 19th till March, 25th - 686 condemned in Minsk, about 50 condemned - in regions, from them only 5 penalties, other administrative punishments - arrests from 4 till 15 day.

Also, according to the Committee of Protection of the Subjected to Repression, 370 pupils and students have been excluded from educational institutions during the election campaign of 2006. All those students were subjected to repression not only for the participation in the presidential campaign but also for taking part in the actions of protest demanding to release political prisoners in Belarus. Thanks to the opposition efforts all of them have an opportunity to continue education in high schools, colleges and universities of the other countries close to Belarus.

Here is the List of Sentenced Political Prisoners (condemned in Belarus on politically motivated criminal cases - leaders and the activists of opposition who are serving time in jails right now):

- Kozulin Aleksandr (5.5 years) - Professor, the former candidate for presidency, former Rector of the Belarusian State University has been sentenced to 5 and a half years in a minimum security prison on July 13, 2006 by the judge Aleksej Rybakov. The politician was arrested during a brutal disband of a peaceful rally on March 25 this year and is in jail now.

- Mikalay Astreyka and Tsimafey Dranchuk (1-2 years), were members of an independent election monitoring group, Initiative Partnership. They were sentenced by the judge Leonid Yasenovich on 4 August, 2006 to two years and one year imprisonment accordingly for their intention to observe the presidential elections in March 2006. Both are in jail now.

- Severinets Pavel and Mikola Statkevich (2 years). Pavel Severinets is one of the leaders of the youth organization "Malady Front" and Mikola Statkevich, leader of the Belorussian Social-Democratic Party (Narodnaya Gramada) took part in the events of October 18th and 19th, 2004 when thousands of people were protesting against falsified results of referendum to extend Lukashenko's governing and elections of a new parliament. They both were sentenced by the judge Leonid Yasenovich on May 31st, 2005 to two years of imprisonment.

- Klimov Andrey (1.5 years) - a former member of the dissolved Belarusian parliament. Police arrested him on 11 February 1998 for alleged fraudulent business practice. He spent over two years in pre-trial detention before being sentenced to six years imprisonment at a hard labour colony with confiscation of property in March 2000. Amnesty International believes that Andrey Klimov, like other members of Belarus opposition, was deliberately targeted by the Belarusian authorities to punish him for his opposition activities. He was elected to the Belarusian parliament, the 13th Supreme Soviet, in 1995 for a five-year term, which was unconstitutionally cut short after President Lukashenka's forced dissolution of parliament in November 1996. During the dissolution process Andrey Klimov was a vocal opponent of President Aleksandr Lukashenko and took an active part in the attempted impeachment of the President.

After the dissolution of parliament he continued his criticism of the President, accusing him of violating the law and the constitution. He played an active role in a parliamentary committee established in January 1997 to examine the violations of the constitution by President Lukashenka and contributed to a document highlighting the various violations committed by President Lukashenka during the dissolution of parliament. The document was reportedly written in consultation with the then Deputy Speaker of the 13th Supreme Soviet and opposition leader, Viktor Gonchar, who "disappeared" in September 1999.

Andrey Klimov was released in spring 2002 but was back in prison on June 10th, 2005 for taking part in the actions of protest in Minsk on March 25, 2005. He was sentenced by the judge Svetlana Gonchar to 1.5 years.

- Skrebets Sergey (2.5 years)- a former member of the dissolved Belarusian parliament's group "Respublika" was arrested on May 15 2005 for alleged fraudulent business practice and sentenced to 2.5 years on February 14th, 2006.

- Finkevich Artur (2 years) - a youth activist was sentenced to 2 years in prison for a political graffiti on May 10th 2006 by the judge Victoria Zaitseva. Finkevich Artur was arrested on January 30th, 2006 for gaffiti "We Want a New President!" and "Enough is Enough!".

- Razumov Nikolay (3 years) - during the election 2006 compaign Razumov Nikolay was sentenced in Orsha on June 16th, 2006 by the judge Tatyana Rybakova to 3 years in jail for releasing the information that the president Aleksandr Lukashenko was involved in the involuntary disappearance and death of Yury Zakharenko, Viktor Gonchar, Anatoly Krasovsky, Dmitry Zavadsky and Gennady Karpenko.