Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Opposition Leaders will write to Council of the Republic

The reason for the appeal to members of the "upper house" of the National Assembly are the amendments to laws on political parties and public associations, which the Council of the Republic to consider on October 21.

"We support the initiative of human rights activists they made last week. We also believe that these innovations are contrary to the Constitution of Belarus and international agreements signed by our country", Yury Hubarevich the deputy chairman of the public association "For Freedom" said in an interview with UDF.BY. - We hope that legislators will have the courage to recognize it and reject the repressive amendments".

According to the politician, the decision to send the appeal to the Council of the Republic was adopted on 19 October after a meeting of six opposition structures. The United Civil Party, Party "Fair World", the movement "For Freedom", the BPF Party, the campaign "Tell the Truth" and the organizing committee on creation of the "Belarusian Christian Democracy" Party took part in the discussion.

As UDF.BY reported earlier, last week it leaked out that the House of Representatives in two readings has secretly adopted amendments to the legislation, significantly complicating the activities of political parties and public associations.

In particular, in the Criminal Code was introduced the Article setting the responsibility for receiving, keeping or transferring foreign sponsorship "in order to carry out extremist activities or other actions prohibited by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus or funding political parties, unions (associations) of political parties, preparing or holding elections, referendums, recalling of a deputy, a member of the Council of the Republic of Belarus".

It is also prohibited to use a foreign aid for "organizing meetings, rallies, marches, demonstrations, picketing, strikes, publication or distribution propaganda materials, holding seminars or other forms of political and mass agitation work among the population".

These actions committed within one year after imposing an administrative penalty for the same violations, in accordance with the amendments will be punished by fine or arrest for up to three months, or by restriction of liberty for up to three years, or by imprisonment for up to two years.

Moreover, the Criminal Code is amended by Article "Espionage", which can also be used by the Belarusian authorities against the opposition. It reads: "The recruitment of a citizen of the Republic of Belarus or other acts committed by a foreign citizen or a stateless person for the purpose of conducting activities in prejudice of the national security of Belarus, - are to be punished by imprisonment for the term from seven to fifteen years".

The Criminal Code is also amended by Article 369-3 "Violation of order of organization or holding mass events."

"Public calls for a meeting, rally, street processions, demonstrations or picketing in violation of the established order of their organization and holding, or involvement of persons to participate in such mass actions through violence, physical menace, fraud, or by paying of remuneration, or any other organization or holding of such events, if their conduct through negligence resulted in deaths, serious bodily harm to one or more persons or damage in a large scale in the absence of the crime's characters specified in Articles 293 and 342 of this Code - are to be punished by arrest for up to six months, or restriction of liberty for up to three years, or imprisonment for the same period", the article says.

Also, in the law on state security agencies were introduced amendments, which provides KGB with unlimited powers.