2011 17/10
Пэн-Цэнтар, Расея

Russian PEN Center

We, writers, members of the Russian PEN Center, have repeatedly expressed our concern about violations of human rights in Belarus and have repeatedly protested against the persecution of our colleagues, writers and journalists Uladzimir Niakliayeu, Paval Seviaryniets, Aliaxandr Fiaduta, Zmitser Bandarenka, Iryna Khalip and others …

Today we must say that the social and political situation in this country is literally deteriorating day by day. And the fate of our colleagues – writers, journalists, artists, all who disagree with the repressive policies of Lukashenka becomes more and more alarming.

It has become known in recent days, on October 3 in Belarus amendments to a number of legislative acts were accepted which make repressions of civil society organizations and individuals expressing disagreement with the policy of Lukashenka ultimately tough.

Any public statements of opposition have been banned before, but if in some cases there were just administrative proceedings, now there would be criminal penalties for any protest. Moreover, the KGB officers are now allowed by law (and in fact, are charged with the responsibility of) the application of physical force up to the use of “fighting struggle techniques”.

It is also allowed by law to break into the homes of citizens without a court order, at the mere suspicion that something bad for government is happening there. At the same time the law “On mass events” became tougher – any gathering of people is now equated with the picketing.

Dictatorial regime responds to any financial activities of the opposition with brutality. As in the worst years of Soviet totalitarianism, now in Belarus the organizer of Foundation for Political Prisoners (Center “Viasna”), Ales Bialiatsky is arrested and awaits trial.

Any appeal of public associations or individual citizens to international organizations with a complaint against the existing order in Belarus can now be treated by the authorities as “high treason” and be punished by imprisonment for a term of 15 years.

All the repressive innovations mentioned above make it impossible or very risky (in the literal sense: people are risking their lives) the activities of public organizations – among them is the work of our colleagues from the Belarusian PEN Centre.

We, writers, members of the Russian PEN Center express our solidarity with our colleagues in Belarus and the willingness to give them any support, which we only can.

We also call on colleagues of International PEN- movement to share our concern about the events in Belarus and join our protest.

Andrey Bitov
Aleksey Simonov
Yunna Moritz
Lev Timofeyev
Liudmila Ulitskaya
Boris Evseyev
Viktor Erofeyev
Konstantin Kedrov
Vadim Rabinovich,
Vyacheslav P’etsukh

penrussia.org

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