Franak Vyachorka has been punished by reducing his leave of absence to five days in the entire 18-month period of his compulsory military service for calling to attention in the Belarusian language, his father, Vintsuk Vyachorka, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), told BelaPAN.
According to him, his son shouted "Zvazhay!" (Belarusian word for "Attention") instead the Russian word "Smirno." "It is the first time that a Belarusian soldier has been punished for the use of the Belarusian language in the Belarusian army," Mr. Vyachorka commented.
"Not long before, I had phoned Lieutenant Colonel Syarhey Hrysyuk, the 8th Radar Brigade’s chief ideology officer who currently acts as brigade commander, to urge him to stop the persecution of my son for language motives. Now I can see that my call did not produce any effect. We’ll complain to the prosecutor’s office and suggest that criminal proceedings be instituted under Article 130 of the Criminal Code, which penalizes officials’ deliberate activities aimed at inciting ethnic and religious enmity through the use of their position."
The 20-year-old Franak Vyachorka, who leads the BPF’s youth wing, was forcibly recruited into the army in late January. He was picked up by police on a Minsk street and brought to the 8th Radar Brigade in Baranavichy, Brest region. He took a military oath there on February 7, and was later transferred to a radar unit in Mazyr, Homyel region.
In May, a panel of the Military Court of Belarus upheld a lower court`s decision to reject Franak Vyachorka`s appeal over his recruitment into the military.