Igor and Pavel Marynich, sons of the Belarusian political prisoner Mikhail Marynich, stay on a visit in Washington, US capital these days. During the meetings they inform American political and public leaders, the press about the situation in Belarus, and about the case of their father, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus, ex-Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Mikhail Marynich, and about the activities of the Council of Civil Initiatives “Free Belarus”, which part the civil initiative “Freedom to Political Prisoners!” headed by Igor and Pavel Marynich is.
About 6 thousand individual entrepreneurs gathered by noon in the October Square of Minsk on March 1. Today they start an infinite strike, demanding to abolish the 18% value-added tax for them. The protest was supported by the markets “Zhdanovichy”, “Dinamo”, and by vendors working in the markets of other cities. According to the internet-source “Pahonya”, a protest rally of about 5,000 people takes place in Hrodna at the moment.
The state-owned company Pinsk Regional Printers again refused the right of the non-state newspaper Miastsovy Chas (Local Time) to be printed in Pinsk. The editorial office of the newspaper, which has been operating for a second year now, is based in Pinsk. However, it has to print its issues 160 kilometers away in Baranavichy, which leads to additional delivery costs. V.Shust, the former head of the Pinsk Town Executive Committee, issued an order banning the printing of the newspaper in Pinsk. After he left the position, Viktar Yarashuk, the newspaper`s senior editor, and Aliaxandr Prakopau, Director of the Pinsk Regional Printers, agreed that the Miastsovy Chas would be printed in Pinsk. However, after A.Prakopau had been to the Ministry of Information, he refused to do as he`s promised saying he had been advised not to take the job away from the Baranavichy printers.
On 25 February the court of the Soviet Borough of Homel ruled that the former director of Iosif and Adzed printers Yulia Marchanka, the daughter of the former candidate for parliament Tatsiana Marchanka, should be denied the opportunity to travel abroad. Yu.Marchanka was fined in the amount of 40 million rubles (unless she pays the fine, she will not be able to travel abroad). On 2 December of the last year, the Court of Chyhunachny Borough of Homel ruled to fine the printers Iosif and Adzed in the amount of 720 thousand rubles and confiscated its equipment. The court hearing had been caused by the company producing a trial batch according to a silk-screening technique. This type of activity was not in the license held by the printers.
Deputy head of the public association Perspektyva Dzmitry Ivanouski was sentenced to 15 days of arrest. This ruling was made yesterday by the judge in administrative cases of Lenin district of Hrodna Natallya Kazyol.
The normally empty area in front of the Belarusian Parliament was unusually active Feb. 10. An angry crowd of market traders had collected around the black statue of Lenin that faces the building, part of a nationwide action that shut down 63 large markets for the day. Small traders took to the streets nationwide, shutting down their stalls to protest the imposition of a new tax that they say could ruin many of the country`s markets, a key element in the national economy. It was the second time in a year that thousands of traders rallied against tighter state control over their affairs.
Russian human rights defenders intend to look into the legal possibility of opening criminal cases in Russia in connection with the disappearance of four opponents of Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime in 1999-2000, Tatyana Protko, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), told BelaPAN.
Belarusian lawmakers are expected to propose before March 15 a date for a workshop involving representatives of the OSCE, government and opposition, Oliver Meier, spokesman for the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Working Group on Belarus, told BelaPAN.
A nationwide strike of market vendors with termination of all taxes payments starts today in Belarus. Self-employed entrepreneurs of Belarus protest against the new procedure of collecting value-added tax in mutual trade of Russia and Belarus, and demand to cancel the agreement with Moscow. As the BelaPAN was told by deputy head of the public association “Perspektiva” Alyaksandr Lapatko, 80,000 entrepreneurs have not paid VAT for March 1. “Yesterday, on February 28, there was the last term of paying the VAT. So we could say that 80,000 entrepreneurs are already taking part in the strike,” told Lapatko. As said by him, the organizers of the protest expect that the overwhelming part of the markets of the country would stop their work. The vendors are also planning to come out to the October Square of Minsk at noon.
According to organizers of the protest, about 50,000 entrepreneurs are to take to the streets of Minsk. They are going to hand in an appeal to Alyaksandr Lukashenka with a demand to abolish the VAT in trade with Russia. The leaders of the entrepreneurs state that if the authorities would not meet halfway, political demands – government and A. Lukashenka’s resignation - would be added to the economical ones.
A hearing is to be held in the Minsk City Court on March 4 in connection with a complaint about the order for a clinical psychiatric examination on Anton Filimonov, the son of journalist Veronika Cherkasova who was brutally murdered in her apartment on October 20, 2004.
Two leaders of a Belarus company admitted Monday that it processed $2.5 million to $7 million in membership fees that gave subscribers around the world access to child pornography Web sites. The guilty pleas from Regpay Co. Ltd. president Yahor Zalatarou and technical administrator Aliaksandr Boika are the latest developments in a global investigation that has led to more than 1,200 arrests.