Ales Byalyatsky Formally Charged, a Lawyer Disbarred - Politics Digest
Last week Belarusian authorities continued the criminal prosecution of Ales Byalyatsky. The authorities also continued to put pressure on lawyers who represent opposition activists. There were no massive protests last week but Belaruian courts fined two people who were involved in organizing silent protests this summer.
Formal charges against Ales Byalyatsky. On 12 August, Ales Byalyatsky was formally charged under Article 243-2 of the Criminal Code (concealment of income on an especially large scale). On 15th of August his detention was extended for two months.
Earlier this month Belarusian authorities detained Ales Byalyatsky, chairperson of the Human Rights Center Viasna and vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Belarusian authorities allege that Ales Byalyatsky failed to pay taxes of Br 143.7 million (approx. $28 700). This offense envisages up to seven years of imprisonment with confiscation of property.
One more lawyer is disbarred. On 16 August, the Belarusian Ministry of Justice disbarred lawyer Tamara Sidarenka, known for defending former presidential candidates in “mass riot” trials. The date of the meeting of the Ministry of Justice Board, which will decide on the final withdrawal of Tamara Sidarenka’s law license, is still unknown. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice disbarred several other lawyers representing defendants in the 19 December 2010 criminal cases.
Fine for participation in “silent protests”. On 12 August, Raman Chuyashou from Zhlobin (Homel region) was fined Br770,000 ($150) for participation in “silent protests”. The administrative case of Chuyashou was heard by Homel Tsentralny District Court 58 days after the protest was staged.
Fine for posting in VKontakte. On 16 August, Mazyr district court fined Michail Karatkevich Br105,000 ($20) under Art.23.34 of the Administrative Code (violation of the order of conducting mass actions). Karatkevich was convicted for posting in a message about silent protests in VKontakte.
Sentence for posting political prisoners’ portraits. On 16 August, two activists of the Young Democrats (UCPB’s youth wing), Zmitser Silchanka and Volha Padzeryna, were detained. The following day, they were found guilty of posting illegal leaflets featuring the portraits of Belarusian political prisoners and sentenced to 5 days of administrative arrest each.
Thousands of signatures collected for the National Assembly. The organizing committee has started collecting signatures for holding the National Assembly. In two weeks thousands of signatures have been collected in Minsk and a few hundred in other cities. The organizing committee consists of representatives of the opposition pro-democratic parties and movements. They announced that the meeting will be held on 08 October, 2011 in 28 Belarusian cities. In Minsk, the National Assembly will be held on Bangalore Square, outside of the city center.
Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.