2011 30/03
Алесь Бяляцкі, Менск

Аles Bialacki, Мiеnsk

Leader of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski has lodged a complaint with Minsk Tsentralny District Court, appealing a warning issued to the human rights defender by the General Prosecutor’s Office on 16 February.

The General Prosecutor’s Office argued that Ales Bialiatski’s actions on behalf of “Viasna” violate the Belarusian legislation.

Ales Bialiatski, in turn, claims that the prosecuting authorities violated his Constitutional rights, citing Article 5 of the Belarusian Constitution, which enumerates possible restriction on the freedom of association. With the warning providing no arguments for Bialiatski’s inability to perform human rights activities on behalf of “Viasna” and no explanations on the alleged damage caused to the national security, public order, the rights and freedoms of other individuals, Ales Bialiatski appealed it at the General Prosecutor’s Office. However, the appeal was dismissed and the warning was not reversed.

According to Ales Bialiatski, “the harassment and criminal prosecution for illegal NGO membership are an absolute obscurantism. This is a Stalinist backslide. In civilized countries, NGOs are free to decide whether they should register or not. In case they do, it is only for acting as a business entity. Criminal responsibility (Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code) for illegal NGO membership is a world-encompassing nonsense. We are appealing the warning because we want to perform all the necessary procedures within the country, so that we can then submit a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee. The Belarusian authorities are aware that the Committee recommended the re-registration of “Viasna” back in 2007, by recognizing its dissolution as a violation of Art. 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

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