The death of Lithuanian diplomat and security officer Vytautas Pociunas in the Belarussian city of Brest in the small morning hours of August 23 was an accident, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Friday.
Banking group ABN Amro has valued Belarus` gas distributor, Beltranshaz, at close to $3.5 billion, the country`s deputy economics minister said.The value of Beltranshaz established by the independent appraiser is close to $3.5 billion, Aleh Melnikaw said Thursday at a news conference, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported. Melnikaw is in charge of the country`s privatization efforts.
The former presidential candidate in Belarus, a political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin, who continues a hunger strike for the 43rd day, has sent another letter to his family. The press-service of the politician sent the letter of Kazulin to mass media.
Today a wife of the former presidential candidate in Belarus, a political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin has lodged a complaint to the Prosecutor General of Belarus, Pyotr Miklashevich, informing him about the ban for meetings of the prisoner A. Kazulin with his lawyer. Iryna Kazulina asks the Prosecutor General to appraise the actions of the colony administration, which deprives a legal assistance a prisoner who continues a hunger strike for the 43rd day. The state of health of Alyaksandr Kazulin is known only from the words of the colony administration. According to the recent reports, Kauzlin’s weight is 67 kg (his weight was 105 kg before the arrest), and his blood pressure is very low.
A well-known Belarusian human rights watchdog Ales Byalatski and the chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhana Litvina visited Stockholm on invitation of Swedish human rights organization “Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights”. During their stay in Sweden Byalatski and Litvina took part in a number of seminars and meetings dedicated to the current situation in Belarus. On Thursday they met with the International Development Minister Gunilla Karlsson.
The National Committee of the United Democratic Forces recommends the oppositional politicians who would be registered and become candidates for deputies to use the proposals of the EU as a part of their pre-election campaign. The chairman of the National Committee of the United Democratic Forces Anatol Lyabedzka believes that the proposals of the EU concern not only prospects of relations of this organisation with Belarus, but could solve a number of problems inside the country.
In Kurapaty, a wooded area on the North-Eastern outskirts of Minsk, a place of mass entombment, another act of vandalism has been committed by the unknown. A so-called Clinton bench, a memorial sign installed in Kurapaty by the US president Bill Clinton during his visit to Belarus in 1994, was overturned. Flowers and candles were scattered.
Local policemen have prohibited the leader of the democratic forces Alyaksandr Milinkevich to tell Hrodna dwellers the history of their native town. The Charter’97 press-center has been informed about that by the politician’s press-secretary Pavel Mazhejka. The opposition leader arrived to Hrodna to meet with voters and collect signatures in support of democratic candidates. He also planned to hold an excursion around one of the oldest quarters of Hrodna, to tell city dwellers about the most important monuments of architecture and how destructive the so-called “reconstruction” started by local authorities is for the city.
MPs of the European parliament offer the European Commission to discuss the situation relating the hunger strike of the former presidential candidate in Belarus, a political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin, with the Belarusian authorities. The EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner has been addressed with such request by Polish deputies of the European Parliament, former Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, and the head of the EP Delegation on Ties with Belarus Bogdan Klich. As Radio Svaboda informs, the MPs of the European Parliament have offered to send a representative to Vitsebsk for a meeting with Kazulin and Belarusian officials.
The founding congress of the Union of Left Parties is to take place outside Belarus. The BalePAN has been informed about that by the leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus (PCB) Syarhei Kalyakin. This event was to take place in Minsk on December 17. three structures: the Party of Communists of Belarus, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) and the Belarusian Party of Women “Nadzeja” are to constitute the Union of Left parties. As said by S. Kalyakin, the organizers of the congress arranged about renting a hall in the House of Culture of Minsk Tractor Plant on December 17. However when they arrived there on the eve of the congress to pay rent money, the administration of the House of culture stated that there are no spare rooms, all premises are occupied on all days.
70,877 members have made up precinct election commissions of local elections. Almost a half of commission members, 48.1%, have been nominated through collection of signatures, 36.2% by labour collectives, 10.5 % by political parties and public associations, 5% by bodies that form the commissions. Only 113 members of the commissions have been nominated directly by political parties. 101 of them form a pro-regime Communist party of Belarus, 10 – a virtually unknown Agricultural party, and 1 – even less known Republican Party of Labour and Justice, 1- an oppositional United Civil Party. These are official figures.
A hunger strike of Roman Catholic community of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn (of Vostraja Brama), Mother of Mercy, has started in Hrodna. The Charter’97 press-center has been informed about that by the rector of the parish Father Alyaksandr Shemet. The reason is that for about 10 years the community cannot get permission for building a new church in Repin Street, 2. For today a priest and 11 parishioners are taking part in a hunger strike. One of the participants of the protest is 79 years old. The hunger strike is held in the building of a chapel. The number of protesters is constantly growing.
On November 30 in Minsk a young activist Syarzhuk Huminski was detained in Minsk. A badge with the ancient Belarusian coat of arms “Pahonya” attracted attention of policemen. It was a reason for his detention. Later policemen took the young activist to the police department of Leninski district of Minsk. A report was drawn up against him, he was charged with “petty hooliganism” and “distribution of printed materials without imprint”.
A young leader, a political prisoner Pavel Sevyarynets is not granted a few days of leave to Vitsebsk for a month and a half. The Charter’97 press-center was informed about that by the mother of political prisoner Tatsyana Sevyarynets. The young leader is serving a two-year sentence, or so-called corrective labour, in the village of Sitna, Polatsk district, Vitsebsk region for organizing peaceful protest rallies against rigged results of the referendum and parliamentary elections in autumn 2004. According to the law, prisoners in a collective labour facility have a right to go home for a few days every month.
A wife of the former candidate for presidency in Belarus, a political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin, Iryna Kazulina, a former political prisoner Syarhei Skrabets and the chairperson of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Tatsyana Protska visited the penal Jurisdiction Department of the Interior Ministry f Belarus. The wife of the political prisoner was received by the first deputy head of the Penal Jurisdiction Department Yury Barynkou. The official gave Iryna Kazulina a permission to send food parcel to Vitsebsk colony. He will need special food after a long hunger strike, if he decides to stop the fast. The political prisoner continues the hunger strike for the 43rd day. For the time of detention the former candidate for presidency lost 38 kg. The major demand of the hunger striker is t consider the situation in Belarus in the UN Security Council.