Minsk police captured the NTV group, which recorded on video an interview with the spouse of the former rector of the Gomel Medical University Yuri Bandazhevsky near the prison, where the man is serving his term. Bandazhevsky was sentenced to eight years of jail over the bribery charges. Director of the NTV representation in Minsk Pavel Selin, cameraman Konstantin Morozov and assistant Dmitry Davydenko had to give written explanations to police why they did what they did. After that all three were let go.
The Central district court of Minsk ruled today a 20 minimal wages fine ($200) against the Charter’97 coordinator Dmitry Bondarenko for his partaking in the peaceful opposition protest on March 24, marking the Freedom Day. Dmitry Bondarenko was found guilty of violating art.167/1 of the Administrative code (involvement in unsanctioned public events, meetings, rallies).
The participants of the yesterday’s picket in Hrodna in support of the reporters of the newspaper “Pahonya” were reprimanded. Among them were a history teacher Ales Dzianisau, a student Dzmitser Dulko, Stanislau Pachabut, a journalist of the newspaper “Navinki”, a blacksmith Dzmitser Antanevich, a worker of the “Azot” plant Pavel Kaspiarovich, and an unemployed Ilya Pyachynin.
From April 1 many of the European Union member-states forbade to accept planes, which don’t correspond to the international standards on noise-making and ecological safety. Among the national aviation companies, which suffered most from the newly imposed limitations, is the Belarusian “Belavia”. Specialists explain the situation by the Belarusian authorities’ unwillingness to purchase the machinery from the recognized world leaders in aircraft building. They prefer Russian models instead. Out of the whole domestic aviation park only four Tu-154M airplanes comply with the requirements, set forth by the International organization of civil aviation, as far as their noise level, reports Radio Svaboda.
In March 2002 Belarus saw growth of tariffs for public utilities for the population. There again significantly rose the apartment rent (payment for technical maintenance, given the flat is privatized) – by 43,8% (from 22,43 to 32,26 rubles per every square meter), whereas in February it already went 82,2% up.
The Central City court of Minsk sentenced the activist of the movement ZUBR Tsimafei Dranchuk to 10 days of arrest for his part in the peaceful protest on the Freedom Day. The activist was found guilty on charges relating Article 167 Note 1 part 2 of the Administrative Code (infringing of the order of carrying out meetings and public gatherings). The verdict was read n the absence of the accused.
Cancellation of the death penalty, liberation of the regime’s political opponents, enlarging the parliament’s functions, alteration of the election law – these are the major demands, which Belarus must stick to in order to normalize her relations with the Council of Europe, reads the special statement by the deputy of the German Bundestag , the CoE counselor for Belarus Wolfgang Berendt. The statement followed the release of an incarcerated 13th Supreme Soviet MP Andrei Klimov and was further disseminated via the German information channels. Berendt says he doubts Belarus’ good intentions in launching real political changes in Belarus, which could as well be a sole positive step on their part.
Yesterday the Prosecutor General Viktar Sheiman made a report to Lukashenka on the draft of a state program on intensification of struggle with corruption and bribery. He also reported on the results of a board on problems of effectiveness of detecting the facts of corruption in the customs offices and bodies of executive power by the Interior Ministry, the KGB, the Committee of State Control and the Department of Financial Investigation. The head of state demanded the Prosecutor General to increase the control over the legality of actions of the director of all levels, to force offenders to pay material compensation for losses caused by negligence, embezzlement of credit and budget money.
Legal action against the two police officers, implicated in the Nemiga stampede in Minsk on May 30, 1999, was stopped by the Central court of Minsk. Judge Petr Kirkovsky closed the case because its legal term had expired by then. Deputy police head for public security Viktor Rusak and head of the mass events Mikhail Kondratin were charged with criminal negligence, which resulted in the bloody stampede in the Nemiga underpass, claiming 53 people dead and over 200 severely injured.
During his last visit to Teheran the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus was warmly welcomed by the president of Iran Mohammed Khatami. Mikhail Khvostov handed over to him personal greetings from Alexander Lukashenko. Emphasizing the importance of promoting the dialogue between the two countries at the very top level, Lukashenko invited Khatami to pay an official visit to Belarus. The president of Iran gladly accepted the invitation.
Alexander Lukashenko issued a decree “On signing a credit agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the Kuwait foundation of Arab economic development”. Under the document’s provisions it is planned to earmark for Belarus a long-term privileged credit worth 5,1mln Kuwait dinars (around $16,5mln). The money will go to finance the project of reconstruction of the “Khimvolokno” chemical plant.
The Belarusian Ministry of Communications has announced that this month the prices for its services will be increased. The rise is meant to help the majority of local communication enterprises that are running at a loss. The tariffs are to rise by 10%. The growth is also accounted for by the fact that the prices for communication services in Belarus are the lowest as compared with other countries of the CIS.