Belarus Justice Ministry moves to suspend Communist Party

MINSK, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus' Ministry of Justice has petitioned the country's Supreme Court to place a temporary ban on the activities of the opposition Communist Party, the ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry said it filed over the party's failure to conform to its demands, in particular to provide membership records.

The ministry said it issued a warning in writing and set a deadline for the party to make amends, but the Communist Party ignored it.

"The ministry warned the Communist Party leadership of the possible consequences of its illegal activities, but the party continues to defy the country's laws and is taking no action to show that it respects the law," the ministry said.

Under Belarusian law on political parties, if a party fails to rectify violations cited by the Justice Ministry within an established timeframe, its activities may be suspended for one to six months, subject to a Supreme Court ruling.

The Minsk city authorities earlier ordered the closure of the party's branches. The party appealed the move to the Justice Ministry, but the ministry said the order was legitimate.

Sergei Kalyakin, the Communist Party leader, said the party has started forming a new organization in Minsk.

"We will continue our political activity, which is aimed at restoring democracy, freedom and human rights in Belarus, no matter what," he said.