Belarus - clampdown continues

Belarus anarchists report on the new powers being demanded by the increasing repressive President Lukashenko.

Submitted by libcom on December 20, 2005

On December 2 the House of Representatives passed amendments to the Criminal and Procedural criminal codes intensifying responsibility “for actions directed against person and public security”. The bill was put to the parliament on behalf of the President and marked as “urgent”. One of the amendments provides that organisation or participation in the activity of organisations the government had demanded to cease their activity, or dissolve will be punished with a fine, six months of arrest or up to two years’ imprisonment. Amnesty will be given to those who will voluntarily stop their participation in such an organisation and report it to appropriate government bodies. They will be exempt from criminal liability if there is no other corpus delicti in their actions.

Arrest of up to six months or imprisonment of up to three years can be entailed for training or another way of preparation of people for participation in mass disorders as well as for financial support of such actions.

Arrest of up to six month or imprisonment of up to two years are provided for training or another way of preparation of people for participation in group actions, which sharply break public order, as well as for financial or another material support of such actions in the absence of indications of a graver crime. Responsibility for public appeals to take state power or to change violent the constitutional order is intensified and entails arrest of up to six months or imprisonment of up to three years.

Appeals addressed to foreign countries, foreign or international organisations to act to the prejudice of the external security of Belarus, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as distribution of materials, which contain such appeals, entail arrest from six months to three years. If these appeals will be spread via mass media the punishment increases to imprisonment from two to five years [libcom note – the satirical anarchist newspaper Navinki was banned in the past couple of years but now continues illegally]. The Criminal code is also amplified with a new article - “Discredit of the Republic of Belarus”. It means “to give deliberately a foreign state, foreign or international organisation false information about political, economic, social, military or international situation of the Republic of Belarus, legal state of citizens of the Republic of Belarus or its government bodies”. All of these will entail arrest of up to six months or imprisonment of up to two years.

Thus, threatening with imprisonment the authorities try to suppress any unapproved protest actions and the most important – possibility not to carry out but even to attempt to organise a mass protest meeting against possible (according to forecasts of political opponents of A. Lukashenko) falsification of voting during the elections of 2006 that could develop into a so-called revolution. And most likely that because of new rules of political game a wishful result will be attained by the authorities.

Moreover, it is possible to say that censorship is introduced regarding analysis of situation in the country. Now, for instance, leaders of parties in opposition, while talking to foreign journalists, have to be more careful with their public statements. “True information” is the one about how well things are going on in Belarus.

Belarusians, who want to change the situation in the country, have only the right for “kitchen” conversations about Maydan and quiet criminal thoughts, if, of course, they don’t believe that it is possible to change the situation with the help of polling-booths.

Amendments to the Criminal and Procedural criminal codes are urgent and extraordinary, so it is possible to say that in Belarus there is going to be an informal emergency situation.

Now to come into the force the amendments to the criminal legislation must be approved by the Council of the Republic and signed by the President. But this is now just a formality as A.Lukashenko put this bill to the Parliament himself with a mark of “urgent”.

From the Belarus Anarchist Federation
Edited slightly by libcom