The head of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Ian Kelly made a statement about human rights violations in Belarus, the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
The statement said that "the United States notes with serious concern that the continued pressure and intimidation aimed at the independent media and the political opposition in Belarus. After a noticeable improvement at the end of 2008, we note with sadness that, in a subsequent period, there were continuing violations OSCE. "
Among the events that cause the most concern, named:
- July 8 attack on the activist of "Young Belarus" Artur Finkevich after his visit to the U.S. Embassy, while he splashed in the face of an unknown liquid, beaten and knocked to the ground. He stole a laptop, cell phone, keys, passport — because of passport theft Finkievich not able to come to the United States organized by the U.S. State Department exchange program;
- July 9th member of the opposition party, Victor Kovalenko was put in jail along with his brother, to prevent their appearance at the festival, which had President Lukashenko open;
- print runs of two independent publications ("Free City" and "Nasha Niva") have been blocked, probably due to the publication of articles about Russian documentary about the involvement of Alexander Lukashenko in the disappearance of his political opponents;
- Police prevented the July 9 meeting of the two leaders of the "unofficial" Union of Poles Angelica Orehvo and Andrei Poczobut with EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule;
- Web Editor charter97.org was interviewed at least four times since March, at her home and office were searched;
- Minsk police conducted a search of the vehicle activist Michael Bashura and confiscated signatures for giving the streets in Minsk and Grodno behalf of Vasil Bykov;
- has not yet been terminated Article 193 of the Criminal Code, which provides for imprisonment for acting on behalf of an unregistered organization.
"These cases are just a small part of the many facts that indicate a systematic increase in the pressure and intimidation of independent media and political opposition in Belarus. We continue to call on the Belarusian government to review its laws on media, freedom of assembly and association, as well as the political parties and their implementation, in order to bring in line with OSCE commitments … in accordance with our commitments to the OSCE, we are ready to cooperate with the government in Belarus this matter "- Said in a statement.