Leonid Yasenovich, chairman of the Court of Center district, refused to grant an appeal of lawyer Vera Stramkowskaya to the prolongation of the detention term of one of the Belarusian opposition leader, former minister of Foreign Economic Ties, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus, former deputy of the 12th Supreme Soviet, Mikhail Marynich. The judge referred to the gravity of charge (Article 210 Part 4 – embezzlement on a large scale) foresees detention up to two years. Besides, the court considers that former minister and diplomat could escape from investigation and court and prevent establishing the issue. Lawyer of Mikhail Marynich is going to appeal a decision of the Central Court of Minsk in the Minsk city court.
Over 1000 Ukrainian citizens turned out at polls in Belarus to cast ballots in the first round of their country’s presidential elections held on October 31. Polling stations were opened in the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk and the consulate in Brest, a source with the Ukrainian diplomatic mission told BelaPAN. A total of 2,090 Ukrainian nationals resident in Belarus had been placed on the electoral register ahead of the vote.
Mikhail Marinich’s lawyer noted that there are no legal grounds to extend the opposition politician’s term in custody. The authorities last week prolonged the detention of the politician, who has been in jail since April on a charge of illegal firearm possession, by another month.
The Czech Republic maintains diplomatic relations with Belarus, but has a much different political stance, Vladimir Ruml, charge d’affaires of the Czech Republic to Belarus, said in an interview with BelaPAN last week.
According to the preliminary results of the presidential elections in Ukraine, published by the Central Election Committee after 94.92% of ballots were counted, Prime Minister Yanukovych leads with 40.12% of votes. The oppositional bloc “Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko has 39.15%. The difference at the moment is 0.97% of votes, and the 5% of not counted ballots are to decide who is the leader of the first round. As said by the head if the CEC Se Kivalov, final results to be publishes in the next few days. He also told that almost certainly the runoff would be organized. Meanwhile, the opposition claims that in reality less people voted for Viktor Yanukovych – about 27%, and he had fallen behind Yushchenko with more than 50% of votes. In order to prevent rigging of the results, the Ukrainian opposition is set to continue peaceful protests.
11 political prisoners sentenced to 10 days of arrest for participation in protest rallies against rigged results of poll at parliamentary elections and referendum, were released on Friday. In front of the special detention center the Belarusian patriots were met by activists of Zubr movement, Young Front, friends and relatives. However, right after the term of the administrative arrest expired, the oppositionists were taken to the Minsk Investigation Department of the Interior Affairs Ministry. Zubr activists and coordinator of the European Coalition “Free Belarus”, leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada” Mikola Statkevich gave testimony in a criminal case initiated relating Article 342 of the Criminal Code “Organizing of group actions, violating public order, or active participation in them”. The case has been initiated on the fact of street rallies against rigged results of parliamentary elections and referendum on October 18-20. Only four hours later they were released. As we have informed, part of the participants are still in prison. Among them are leaders of the European Coalition “Free Belarus” Dzmitry Barodka, leaders of the Young Front Paval Sevyarynets and Artur Finkevich. The photo report of the events of October 29 here:
In the night of October 30 in Maladechna the unknown burglarized the private house, where the office of the local branches of the Belarusian Popular Front Party and Belarusian Helsinki Committee are placed. According to the activists of the Maladechna branch of the BPF Party Ales Kaputsky, the intruders got into the house through the broken window: “ I came in the morning and saw a mess, and noticed that some things had disappeared. I called the police, they came. A part of office equipment was stolen: a system block, fax and Xerox, a radio cassette player, modem and scanner, and a radiotelephone”.
Nikolai Statkevich, leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Narodnaya Hramada" (BSDP), was freed by the police on the night of October 29 after his four-hour questioning as a witness at the interior ministry`s Investigative Committee following his 10 days in jail.
Vawkavysk pensioner Valantsina Saldatava, 67, went on hunger strike, reports www.hrodna.by. She demands to review the parliamentary election results on Vawkavyski district. Valantsina Saldatava also demands to repair her apartment which had been practically destroyed during preparation to Dazhynki, the official harvesting festival. The 67-year-old women, suffering from pancreatic diabetes, went on hunger-strike on Wednesday, October 27. She stays in her apartment, where she lives with her granddaughter, 13. Valantsina Saldatava drinks only water.
On October 29-31 in Berlin a large international conference dedicated forcible adductions took place. A number of human rights organizations of Germany were among arrangers of the conference. Human rights activists and relatives of people disappeared on political reasons from different parts of the world: Asia, Africa, Latin America, participated in the conference. Relatives of the disappeared oppositionists from Belarus also took part in the forum: Iryna Krasowskaya, whose husband businessman and political activist Anatol Krasowsky disappeared without traces in 1999, Svyatlana Zavadskaya, wife of the journalist disappeared in 2000, and Volha Zakharanka, whose husband, former Belarusian Interior Minister Yuri Zakharanka disappeared in 1999. The relatives of the disappeared Belarusians spoke at the conference. We call your attention to the text of the speech delivered by Iryna Krasowskaya, leader of the civil initiative “We Remember”.
They led an uprising that toppled Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, and last year they played a major role in ousting another autocrat in Georgia. A group of youthful Serbs is offering advice on how to carry out peaceful revolutions, and their latest clients are people trying to shake off oppression in Ukraine and Belarus.
About 350 people, mostly activists of the nationalist Conservative Christian Party (CCP), gathered near the entrance into the Park Chelyuskintsev subway station in Minsk at 11 a.m. on October 31 to take part in a traditional march on the occasion of Dzyady (ancestors` remembrance day) observed in Belarus on November 2.
The Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) has filed a suit with Minsk`s Oktyabrsky District Court, demanding that trade union activist Oleg Dolbik be reinstated in his job and compensated for his forced absence at work.
In the heat of this US presidential campaign season, Americans can take some comfort in knowing they are not alone. Countries around the world are experiencing an unusually eventful political climate this year. The significance for the US of these global contests lies less in the outcome of any single election than in the fact that a free and fair vote is taking place in so many countries today.
The Belarusian embassy in the United States has expressed "deep disappointment and concern" over US authorities` refusal to allow Belarusian diplomats to observe the voting process in three US States. The embassy reportedly applied to the election authorities in four states - Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia - for permission to monitor the November 2 poll. Virginia alone did not turn down the application.
The Lithuanian Seimas (parliament) will, next Tuesday, vote on a critical resolution on Belarus` October 12-17 parliamentary elections and national referendum, an official with the Seimas press office told BelaPAN. The Seimas discussed the resolution on October 28 but decided to postpone the vote.
The costs of political TV ads broadcast in connection with the October 12-17 parliamentary elections and national referendum were borne by the Belarusian State Television Radio Company, which is financed out of the state coffers, the General Prosecutor`s Office said in a letter sent to Sergei Alfer, deputy chairman of the United Civic Party, in reply to his allegation of violations of rules governing pre-voting campaigning.
Representatives of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) have completed their observation mission in Belarus, Eric Collings of Britain, a long-term observer, said in an interview with BelaPAN on Thursday.
Belarus is interested in broadening relations with Cuba in all fields, including economic cooperation, Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, who arrived in the Cuban capital on Sunday night, said here. The Belarussian foreign minister will hold with Cuban representatives consultations on issues of the two countries’ political cooperation and interaction in international organizations.
Our neighbors Ukrainians are finishing counting votes at the presidential elections. The epoch of Leonid Kuchma has finished – according to the Constitution, he did not run for the third term. The government planned to replace him by current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. However, the hopes for the better future are not associated with him. Leader of the bloc “Our Ukraine”, former Prime-Minister Viktor Yushchenko today is the most realistic oppositional candidate for the presidency. A week ago in Kyiv 100,000 of people participated in the mass action in his support. Now the Ukrainians are ready are ready to go into the streets, in order to defend their choice and not allow stealing the victory of their candidate. The most recent figures of the votes counting and chronicle from the streets of the Ukrainian capital can be found on sites of the informational agency “Hot line” http://www.hotline.net.ua/ - section “Voting counts in regions of Ukraine” and “Maidan” (http://maidan.org.ua/).
Two Polish schools have expressed readiness to admit a total of 15 students of European Humanities University (EHU) that was closed by Belarus’ education ministry this past July, an official with EHU told BelaPAN.
A top Russian air force general and his driver were shot dead in their car Sunday near the west Russian city of Smolensk. Major-General Konstantin Dementyev was killed in his car on the road between Moscow and Belarus, the Interfax news agency reported, quoting police sources. Another passenger who was in the car was wounded and hospitalized. Dementyev, who had been vacationing in neighboring Belarus, was attacked at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday by an assailant driving a Mercedes Benz and armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, the Interfax news agency reported. Dementyev was deputy commander of Russia’s strategic long-range air forces. There were no reports on possible motives for the attack.