Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Leader of Group of Women Protesting "Unfair" Judgments Meets with Council of Europe Official

A leader of a group of Belarusian women protesting "unfair" court judgments pronounced against them or in cases of their relatives met Jean-Louis Laurens, the Councils director general for democracy and political affairs who visited Minsk earlier this week.

Halina Yubko passed Mr. Laurens an appeal asking the Council of Europe to help the group embark on a dialogue with the Belarusian authorities.

The appeal carries signatures by 93 people from various parts of Belarus.

It urges the Council of Europe to support their attempts to "defend their rights and rights of their relatives amid the weakness of civil society and solidarity between representatives of courts and prosecutors offices."

It says that the authorities give pro-forma replies to the complaints.

"Mr. Laurens listened attentively to my requests and noted that the appeal and accompanying documents would be thoroughly studied and the issue of the operation of Belarus courts will be raised at the Council of Europe soon," Ms. Yubko told BelaPAN.

Tamara Syarhey, a legal expert who provides support for the group, told BelaPAN that the appeal was in line with the countrys constitution.

Prosecutor General Rygor Vasilevich promised to probe cop-outs sent by officials to the group, but he had failed to keep his word; while Supreme Court head Valyantsin Sukala refuses to recognize the problem at all, Ms. Syarhey said.

Ms. Yubko has been approaching various authorities for five years, demanding a new investigation into the murder of her sister who was killed and burned in her house in the village of Zakharawka in the Minsk region in October 2004.