2009 27/01

The Belarusian authorities tried to deceive the OSCE by saying activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Alyaksandr Barazenka was released without being sentenced after the trial in the case of 14.

Kyle Scott, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission to the OSCE, said it on January 23 in his report to Dora Bakoyannis, chairperson of the OSCE.

“At the Permanent Council meeting on December 18, 2008, the United States made a statement regretting that the government of Belarus had, on December 9, sentenced a human rights defender, Alyaksandr Barazenko, to one year of restricted freedom for participating in an entrepreneurs rally in January of 2008. Following our statement, the distinguished permanent representative of Belarus claimed that our reports were incorrect, that Mr. Barazenko had been released without being sentenced, and suggested that we be more careful in checking our facts,” Telegraf quotes Kyla Scott’s report, spread by the US Embassy in Minsk.

“We went back and checked and can verify that in fact, Mr. Barazenko was convicted and sentenced to one year of restricted freedom to be served at home. The fact of this sentence was also confirmed in the December 22, 2008 activity report of the OSCE Office in Minsk which was distributed to all delegations. Mr. Barazenko appealed this sentence and his appeal was dismissed by the Minsk Central District Court on January 13,” the US Chargé d’Affaires to the OSCE told.

“We stand by our original statement of December 18 and continue to call on the government of Belarus to honor its international obligations and commitments to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, and to promote democracy in Belarus,” Kyle Scott said.

Opposition activists Alyaksei Bondar, Artsyom Dubski, Mikhail Kryvau, Mikhail Pashkevich, Alyaksandr Straltsou, Alyaksandr Charnyshou, Tatsyana Tishkevich, Mikhail Subach and Paval Vinahradau were sentenced to 2 years of restraint of liberty without sending them to penal facilities for participating in protest rallies of entrepreneurs. Minor Maksim Dashuk got 1.5 year of restraint of liberty. In December 2008, activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Alyaksandr Barazenka was sentenced to 1 year of restricted freedom for the same protest action. These people can be arrested and thrown into prison at any moment.

Source: www.charter97.org

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