Belarusian Soldiers To Be Punished For Political Party Membership

MINSK -- Belarusian soldiers have been told they must suspend their membership in political parties while serving in the military, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Belarusian Defense Minister Leanid Maltsau said in Minsk on October 8 that any soldier who continues their political activities while in the ranks of the Belarusian Army will be punished under a new law.

He said his proposal to introduce such a statute within the Belarusian law on the status of military personnel was supported by and adopted by the country's parliament on October 8.

Several prominent opposition party and movement activists in Belarus are serving their military terms in the army. Many of them say they were drafted into the army because of their political activities.

They say they were officially exempted from military service due to health reasons but that authorities drafted them because of their opposition activities.



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