2009 28/10

Alaksiej Lapicki

Alaksiej Lapicki

Harassment of human rights activists in Belarus…

Vitebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik has been punished by the system with the greatest fine of 34 million rubles on charges, which were immediately used by the official state media for fomenting resentment and hatred, further discrimination of the Belarusian society.

In this case, the target of a company of discredit appeared to be an active in its relations with the UNCHR Vitebsk human rights activist, an activist of the Belarusian civil society, whose very honorable mission of a human rights activist was damaged. 

In this regard, we decided to ask a few questions to Aliaksei Lapitski, human rights activist from the town of Zhodzina, Minsk region.

How do you think, Mr. Lapitski, can such punishment be justified and what are the roots, in your opinion, of such a wonderful situation with the prosecution of the Vitebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik?

– Indeed, it is exemplary for the situation in the country, an absolutely absurd and cynical, I would say – mocking its content criminal case. Nevertheless, it, just like the sentence that propaganda splashed into the society – is predictable for the existing practice of political persecution in Belarus. This is not a lawsuit, but a political lynching!

In this case, the whole company of baiting the activist both regarding the time in which it occurred, and the methods of action, a deliberately wide resonance and broad interpretations of the official media… – contributed to the continued expansion of the artificial divisions in society, the spread of the destructive ideas of hostility, directed against the supporters of the democratic values of the constitutional and legal priorities, strengthening of the state system and sovereignty of Belarus.

It looks that the existing regime in the period of a socio-economic crisis and the upcoming vitally important stage of the election in the country, had decided in this, to put it mildly, obscene manner, to solve its multiple own goals. Through targeted and systematic harassment, psychological pressure and with the help of administrative and economic instruments against dissenters, it tries to suppress specific (unwanted and dangerous for its continued domination) manifestations of human rights activity in the regions and at the same time to replenish the budget at the expense of the discriminated and humiliated members of the civil society in the country, through their systematic “racketing” and “robbery” …

I can not remember a single case, when the judicial system of Belarus has expressed a principled, independent, and made a verdict against a senior official, punished him by a fine in favor of a simple citizen, a victim of the nomenclatural bureaucracy, humiliations, actions, or inaction, shameful and obvious massive manipulations of the elections through ballot rigging etc. (even if it is not an astronomical sum that is at stake).

If you ask an ordinary citizen, about whether we can count on at least one sentence to the offender from the corrupted corporate power, living on human problems, their socio-political or electoral absence of liberty and almost total economic depression Belarus – you are most definitely going to get a predictable answer!

So does such society need concerned people, active and proactive, efficient in legal protection and human rights promotion? The question is once again a rhetorical one. And who, then, in the situation of legal nihilism and total irresponsibility of the officials, is afraid of human rights activists? I hope the answer is as obvious!

And every time one is faced with another political conspiracy and surprised at the size of “the produced carbon” by the “court-producer” of the final fine in favor of the immense nomenclature pocket for even apparently false charges – one usually thinks in that way “the state racket”, which the irremovable leader promised to spare Belarus of “does not disappear” …?

– It turns out that way. Moreover, it looks like he has reached a new, cynically pragmatic stage and become the principal tool of economic blackmail and political persecution in the society – a means of political persecution of opponents and discriminations by the authoritarian and repressive regime. And in terms of ideological population control and enforced contract system in the labour sphere, a practical monopoly of the means of production and the main sources of livelihood – a means of constant replenishment of the state budget, which feeds an endless army of “horizontal” nomenclature dwelling by “the trough of power” or “the ruling hierarchy” of officials.

In this scheme – where the economic benefit to the general for-all budget pocket servants of the regime is affected – any logics of the law would be silent, any courts and judges, law enforcement services … all appointed “pawns” in this dirty game against ordinary citizens , its people, but for the sake of PRESERVATION OF POWER BY ANY MEANS …

The cynicism and the danger of the situation is that in the implementation of the primary challenges for the authorities – the preservation of their own power is a mockery and brutal repression of the universally recognized worldwide rights and freedoms of citizens, hand-wringing of human rights activists… is methodically planned, in addition to a disguised – with somehow strained at the “official face” smiles and cries of a bully pulpit rhetoric within the pro-European partnership of the “right-democratic” orientation …

To put it simple – this is possible only in the circumstances of large and cynical lawlessness of deceit, deception and lack of freedom, full of “vertical subsidiarity” and inaction of law enforcement and judicial system … After all, that is hidden under similar smiles … you can see it immediately when looking at the “sincere joy” of unchanging CEC chair of Belarus after the adoption of a mockery of cosmetic amendments to the Electoral Code on the eve of the new, so to say “elections” within the supposedly “democratic” manner of the election procedure …

And it looks like that this joy of official system is really genuine. Why do they rejoice in a crisis?

– And why should they not rejoice? Everything is going according to plan. As they say, the process is under way. But most importantly, that in this case – there are no changes. Those changes, which they do not need. Relying thus on the naivety of ” Europe in love with Belarus”, in the general movement within the boundaries of an entirely different use of the Eastern Partnership, the regime is absolutely free and seemingly “civilized” (in reference to the internal “proper laws” and “independent courts”) with the same “proper methods” just “forcibly and deliberately dumps money” from those who may still damage the process – with its over-truth-seeking opponents.

At the time when human rights activist Leanid Svetsik, almost simultaneously with the shameful trial over him, through the Constitutional Court of Belarus achieved positive steps towards the changes in the Labour Code regarding its discriminatory age employment provisions – he is punished by the system (!?) for what could never have imagined myself … and be forced to pay a huge amount of fine.

It seems to me that a civilized country, specifically its truly democratically elected leadership, controlled by the people and working for the people, would never descend to such despicable practices. And today’s European trends are truly used to benefit the entire society, its democratic and stable economic future within the European neighborhood and the common European perspectives.

We would also like to remind you that on 23 May 2008, after the KGB agents searched the apartment of Mr. Svetsik in Vitebsk in a criminal case under Article 130.1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (fomenting of ethnic and religious hatred), undertaken by the Vitebsk regional KGB on such an absurd charge against Vitebsk human rights activist, in violation of legislation procedures, as a result of 14 trial sessions was sentenced to a fine of 34 million roubles…

(to be continued – in the following publications)

Ales Volny,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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