Belarus — in the Amnesty International report

"There were three death sentences were handed down, the two met. Government severely restricted freedom of speech and assembly, fined and detained peaceful demonstrators. Not conduct impartial investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment. Prisoners of conscience were denied medical and legal assistance" — so summed up the situation in Belarus in this report Amnesty International "Human rights in the world today." This is the website of the Human Rights Center "Viasna".

We offer you excerpts from the section of the report dealing with Belarus.

Death penalty

Government authorities have expressed willingness to cooperate with the international community on the issue of the death penalty. In February 2010, the Parliament has established a working group to study the issues of the death penalty. In September, the UN Council on Human Rights the government acknowledged that there is a need to abolish the death penalty. Representatives of the country's leaders have declared their intention to influence public opinion in favor of abolishing the exceptional measure of punishment and continue to cooperate with the international community. However, despite this, in Belarus continued to be imposed and enforced death penalty.

In March 2010, executed Basil Yuzepchuk and Andrei Zhuk, sentenced to death in June and July 2009, respectively. As is the case with all other executions in Belarus, neither the prisoners nor their relatives were not warned in advance of the date of execution of the judgment. Andrei Zhuk's mother learned that her son was punished, March 19, when she brought him a transfer to the food. The execution took place despite the fact that both the convicted appealed to the UN Committee on Human Rights and 12 October 2009 the Committee requested the authorities to postpone the execution of the sentence to time, until he has investigated their case.

May 14 Grodno Regional Court sentenced Oleg Grishkovtsa and Andrew Burdyko to capital punishment for murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping of a minor, theft and robbery. The Supreme Court of 17 September 2010 had left them the appeals dismissed.

September 14 Mogilev Regional Court sentenced Igor Myalik to death for a series of robberies and murders committed in 2009 on the highway Mogilev — Gomel. More than one person involved in the case were sentenced to life imprisonment, while the third died in custody before trial ended.

Freedom of expression

In May, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, in a letter to the Belarusian authorities expressed concern about the pressure that is placed on independent media in the country, and declared that "the intimidation of journalists makes a deterring effect on investigative journalism, already weak in Belarus."

September 3rd editor and founder of the non-government news website "Charter'97" Oleg Bebenin was found dead at his dacha. He was found hanging from a rope attached to the beam. Sept. 4 the first results forensic examination, which stated that the most likely cause of death was suicide. However, colleagues and relatives have put into question the official conclusion, pointing to several inconsistencies in order to find what position the body, that it had previously been subject to persecution of the authorities, and that shortly before his death, he joined the staff of the electoral opposition presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.

July 1 came into force presidential decree № 60 "On measures to improve the use of the national segment of the Internet." Among other things, the decree requires Internet service providers to verify the identity of users of Internet services and provide the authorities with information about the subscribers. In addition, we introduce measures to restrict access to information that may be considered extremist, pornographic, coupled with the propaganda of violence, cruelty and other acts prohibited by law. A study prepared on the instructions of the OSCE, said that the measures "lead to unreasonable restrictions on the right of a citizen to receive and impart information" and give the government too much discretion to limit access to certain sources of information.

Freedom of assembly

Restrictive law "On Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus" still infringes upon the freedom of speech and assembly. The law requires demonstrators to apply for permission to the local authorities. The law also prohibits public events at a distance less than 200 meters from the pedestrian underpasses and metro stations. According to the law, the organizers are responsible for the maintenance of public order, as well as measures related to the provision of care and cleaning after a mass event, funding it out of their own funds. Due to numerous requests such provisions were rejected.

May 8, 2010 Minsk city executive committee refused to grant permission for the May 15 "Slavic gay parade" because the proposed route ran at a distance less than 200 meters from metro stations and pedestrian underpasses. However, a group of protesters still held on May 15 march despite the ban. Eight demonstrators arrested on the weekend, five of them were charged with participating in an unsanctioned rally and fined.

Mostly peaceful demonstration, which took place after the presidential elections on December 19, was brutally dispersed by riot police. More than 700 persons were charged with administrative violations. They were arrested for periods ranging from 10 to 15 days. Arbitrarily detained them for what they are peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression. For many of the protesters, law enforcement officers used excessive force.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In August of Belarus passed the fourth periodic report to the UN Committee against Torture. The report rejected recommendations made by the Committee in 2000, to amend the Penal Code definition of torture in accordance with the definition in the UN Convention against Torture. The document also states that all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are studied prosecutors. However, according to an independent report submitted by several NGOs in December, the statements to prosecutors rarely end with the beginning of a criminal case on torture, they are usually the subject of surface analysis, which is not beyond questioning the police officers to whom the complaint.

January 18 Soviet district of Minsk prosecutor's office refused to open a criminal investigation into allegations of torture filed Paul Levshina. 9 December 2009 on suspicion of stealing his officers detained the Soviet police department. According to Paul Levshina, December 10 from 17:00 to 20:00 the police tortured and ill-treated him. In a statement to the prosecutor, he wrote that the police handcuffed him, put on his stomach and bent legs so that they were kept chained hand (so-called "swallow"). He was beaten with a rubber truncheon and plastic bottles filled with water. In addition, five times he wore on his head and held up a package as long as he did not start to choke. Forensic examination confirmed that the nature of the injury corresponds to the description, but the prosecutor's office, citing police reports, said that there was no evidence of torture were found.

Prisoners of conscience

At the end of the year 29 persons, including six opposition presidential candidates, members of their campaign staffs, as well as journalists, have been exposed to charges of "organizing mass disorder" in connection with their participation in the demonstrations on 19 December. They face up to 15 years in prison. Many of them blamed solely for the fact that they are peacefully expressing their views, at least 16 of their number to be prisoners of conscience.

Andrei Sannikov — Presidential candidate of the opposition — were detained at the demonstration on December 19. Riot policemen beat him, injuring his leg. Together with his wife — a journalist Irina Khalip — He was taken to hospital, but the car with them stopped by law enforcement. December 27 custody officers came to their three year old son Daniel and told his grandmother that she would have to fill out a paper uzyatstsi over custody of the child, otherwise it will take the state. December 29 Andrei Sannikov was charged with a felony — organizing mass riots. Soon Irina Khalip also arrested and charged with a crime. Andrei Sannikov's lawyer only occasionally allowed to meet with his client. The lawyer expressed concern that his client did not provide proper medical care for injuries. After the lawyer threatened deprivation of a license for the fact that he raised the issue of the health status of the client.

Serving in the army was still required, but started discussing the draft law on alternative military service. During the year, two conscientious objectors to military service were acquitted.

The report of Amnesty International-2011 contains information on the situation of human rights in 157 countries and territories in 2010.

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