Amnesty International: Belarus - the region's last executioner
The worsening economic situation, rising tensions in society and in the end even more draconian restrictions on freedom by the state power. That's how the human rights organization Amnesty International estimates the situation in Belarus in 2011. The report on the state of human rights in the world last year was published today.
During the year restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly have become more violent, according to the report in the section dedicated to Belarus. The executions of death penalties continued. Prisoners of conscience remained in prisons and tortured or ill-treated in other ways. The right to a fair trial has been limited. There was no system of the independent monitoring of detention facilities.
Evidence of tortures were heard from Aleksei Mikhalevich, the presidential candidate, who was accused of organizing mass demonstrations after the elections. Dmitry Dashkevich during his imprisonment was placed in solitary confinement at least eight times. According to Amnesty International, at the end of 2011 in Belarus there were six prisoners of conscience: Dmitry Bondarenko, Andrei Sannikov, Pavel Sevyarynets, Nikolai Statkevich, Dmitry Dashkevich and Eduard Lobov.
In August head of the human rights organization "Viasna" Ales Byalyatski was arrested. He was also acknowledged by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. During the year both registered and unregistered rights organizations were also targeted. Shortly after Byalyatski's arrest the amendments to the law "On Public Associations" were adopted, which have prohibited funds' placement of Belarusian non-governmental organizations in bank accounts abroad. The CE Venice Commission noted, the Criminal Code which criminalizes participation in the activities of unregistered political parties or associations "is incompatible with the notion of the democratic society".
The new law "On mass events" adopted in Belarus was also named draconian in the report. It has appeared after the so-called "silent" protests and requires the government's permission to conduct the pre-determined public action as well as "inaction".
Illustrating the situation with freedom of speech, the report also mentions the three years sentence (suspended) of journalist Andrei Poczobut for "insulting the president".
In 2011, Belarus executed two people (Grodno killers Oleg Grishkovets and Andrey Burdyko). The sentences were executed despite the UN Committee on Human Rights has sent in Belarus the official request to postpone the execution in order to study the case of convicted persons. Amnesty International names Belarus in connection with its practice of the death penalty the region's last executioner.