17 September 2020 | Infocenter Free Belarus 2020
8:09 am Vladislav Klavkin (participant of the “coffin” event) received a notice of expulsion from the country. His family – mother and brother – live in Belarus.
The decision to expel Vladislav was made in connection with bringing him to administrative responsibility under Articles 23.4 (failure to obey a lawful order) and 17.1 (petty hooliganism) of the Administrative Code. Vladislav was appointed the maximum period of the ban on entry to the country – 10 years.
8:25 am Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is preparing the “Taraikouski List”, and warns security officials of awaiting trials and punishment.
“We were given the names and surnames of those who had beaten and tortured people. Therefore we are preparing a list of security officials and law enforcement workers, who had been and are taking part in police brutality. We call it “Taraikouski List”. Aliaksandr Taraikouski was the first victim of police brutality. The sanction list will include individuals responsible for torture, unlawful arrests and abuse of the detainees. To identify the perpetrators, we are closely collaborating with human rights activists and “The Black Book of Belarus” project. We will pass this list on to Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, EU countries and the USA. The list will be published, and will be continuously appended to.
“I suggest the security officials putting an end to violence and taking the side of the Belarusian people. Otherwise you will not escape a lawful trial and punishment.”
8:45 am Today, some independent Belarusian publications will not display any images on their websites for the whole day, all pictures will be replaced with broken image icons.
This is the journalists’ way of showing solidarity with Alexander Vasyukovich and Vladimir Gridin. They are photojournalists, who were sentenced to 11 days of arrest each yesterday .
9:02 am The European People’s Party fraction in the European Parliament plans to nominate the Coordination Council of Belarus representatives for the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
9:31 am On 17 September, at its plenary session, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution on the situation in Belarus. One of the items on the agenda is the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk.
9:54 am US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged all countries, especially Russia, “to respect the sovereignty of Belarus. ”
Pompeo pointed out that the US, together with the UK and the EU, are currently working on the sanctions aimed at protecting the “legitimate demands of the Belarusian people. ”
10:07 am Belarusian lawyers recorded a video in support of the arrested lawyers Maksim Znak and Ilya Salei. They also spoke out against the government violating the law against its citizens.
“We do not wear balaclavas and do not hide our names. We help people. We have one goal – to abide by the law. We are lawyers, and we will help our citizens,” their appeal says.
10:19 am Roman Bondarovets, a member of the Strike Committee of Belaruskali, was detained, reports @stachkom
10:34 am Minsk. A fair election was held yesterday in Nova Borovaya! The residents elected their neighborhood flag.
The election was held according to the highest standards of transparency – as transparent as a three-liter glass jar. The turnout, which was announced an hour before the vote, was phenomenal: 89.7% of the total number of ballots!
Anyone could recount the votes under the control of observers, even after the results were announced. See the photo gallery.
11:02 am There is news on the fate of Beltyazhmash – a group of companies which owns the building housing Viktor Babarika’s headquarters and the Coordination Council. A criminal case was initiated under the article on tax evasion on an especially large scale.
The State Control Committee claims that the sum of taxed, unpaid by the company, amounts to more than 6 million BYN.
11:13 am The charity foundation “Belarus of the Future” provides legal assistance to students who have been unlawfully expelled from Belarusian universities and want to enroll universities in the territory of Ukraine, wrote Valery Tsapkala in his Telegram channel @tsepkalo2020
11:45 am Unofficial: where in Moscow will the dictator’s youngest son, Nikolai Lukashenko, go to school?
“There are no official announcements yet. But I know some people in education, and they told me that Kolya was transferred to Moscow State University Gymnasium,” said the chief researcher of the National Academy of Sciences, Alexander Vaitovich.
According to him, after Belarusian State University Lyceum condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities, Nikolai’s documents were withdrawn from the school.
According to unconfirmed reports, Nikolai is going to study under an assumed name and remotely, at least for the beginning, Kp.by reports based on unofficial sources.
12 pm Well-known Belarusian journalist and politician Paval Sieviaryniec has refused to testify in the pre-trial detention center, reported a journalist from the “Novy Cas” Dziyana Seradzjuk.
Paval Sieviaryniec was detained more than three months ago, on 7 June, during a picket for collection for signatures for alternative presidential candidates in Belarus.
Since then, the politician has been kept in the Akrestsin detention center, one administrative arrest following the other. Paval has spent most of the time in the disciplinary unit. On 20 August, it appeared that a criminal case had been commenced against him under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (riotous disturbances).
12:12 pm A member of the Coordination Council, Ivan Kravtsov, has filed a complaint with the Investigative Committee with regard to his abduction.
He demands to initiate and investigate a criminal case thereon.
At the moment, Ivan Kravtsov and the press secretary of the Coordination Council Anton Rodnenkov are in Kyiv. Belarusian authorities claim that the two are hiding abroad, but Ivan and Anton themselves are saying that the authorities have expelled them from Belarus with threats and pressure, @euroradio reports.
12:18 pm Director of the State Institute of Sociology Genadz Korshunau has been dismissed “upon mutual agreement of the parties.”
In June, Korshunau admitted that in April the trust rating of Alexander Lukashenko had made 24%, and only 11% of respondents had said they trusted the Central Election Commission.
The director will resign, but the ratings will remain.
12:20 pm Pavel Latushko, former Minister of Culture and member of the Coordinating Council, commented on Lukashenko’s decision to deprive him of his diplomatic rank, @nashaniva reports.
“It is a strange situation when people who break the law and commit violence against the citizens of our country are rewarded, and opponents of violence are deprived of their diplomatic ranks. This is the reality of today’s Belarus and the outgoing government”, said Latushko.
12:23 pm Maksim Znak’s lawyer Dmitry Laevsky said that the court hearing on the defense’s appeal against the detention of Maksim Znak had been scheduled for 18 September.
12:25 pm The European Parliament wants to deprive Minsk of loans, and at the same time impose sanctions against Russia.
The European Parliament has already prepared a draft resolution on the situation in Belarus, in which it calls on the EU institutions to delegitimize Lukashenko as much as possible, impose tough sanctions not only against him and the Republic, but also against Russia, block financing of Minsk through all available channels, and provide all possible support to the opposition.
12:26 pm From 17 September, Belarusians can enter Poland with a visa “issued for tourist purposes.”
Belarusian tourists will have to self-isolate for a 10-day quarantine.
12:27 pm Utility workers have creatively approached painting over a protest mural in one of the districts of Minsk. For some reason blue sky and green grass were added to the mural. Perhaps, it’s a new tactic to lighten the resistance of locals.
12:30 pm One of the most distinguished coaches of Belarus, Nikolai Kozeko, the permanent head of the freestyle team, has been deprived of his personal presidential scholarship. Moreover, he has been asked to return the funds on a voluntary pre-trial basis.
Previously, Kozeko signed an open appeal of athletes claiming the election results were falsified and condemning the violence of security officials.
12:44 pm Sergei Gurlo, the chairman of an independent trade union at the tire-manufacturing enterprise Belshina, who went on a hunger strike against his illegal imprisonment in the Bobruisk pre-trial detention center, had to be released today but the term of his imprisonment has been extended by at least two more days.
12:54 pm The BBC has published an extensive story on the work of the solidarity funds BYSOL and BYHELP.
1:00 pm Investigator Andrei Ostapchuk, who resigned on 16 August after the acts of police brutality, has filed an application for political asylum in Poland.
After his dismissal, Ostapovich left for Russia with the intention of moving to Latvia but was detained by Russian security officials in Pskov. Due to the fact that the situation was widely covered by the media, the Russian security forces were unable to transfer him directly to the Belarusian authorities and threw him out on the border with Belarus, where the Belarusian security forces were expecting him. However, Andrei managed to escape, hiding in the forest for a long time, and made it to Warsaw. He told his story in the interview published by reform.by.
1:47 pm MEPs call for EU sanctions against Belarusian President:
- Alexander Lukashenko will not be recognized by the European Parliament as President of Belarus once his current term of office expires on 5 November.
- Parliament condemns the Belarusian authorities for their violent repression of peaceful protests.
Besides, MEPs call for an international investigation into the Navalny case to be launched immediately.
In a resolution adopted by 574 votes in favor, 37 against with 82 abstentions on Thursday, the European Parliament rejected the official results of the “so-called presidential elections” in Belarus on 9 August this year, as these elections were conducted in a “flagrant violation of all internationally recognized standards”.
MEPs call for EU sanctions against the group of individuals responsible for falsifying the election results and for the violent repression in Belarus, including President Lukashenko, and call on EU member states in the Council to implement these restrictive measures without delay, in close coordination with international partners.
MEPs also staunchly condemn the mass arrests and ongoing violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, strike leaders and journalists in the country, with many reports of ill-treatment, rape, and torture emerging from Belarusian detention centers and jails.
The resolution finally underlines the important contribution made by prominent female opposition members, led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, and Maria Kalesnikava, during the protests. It demands the immediate release of the arrested members of the Coordination Council and all those arbitrarily detained for political reasons.
The text notes that many Belarusians consider Tsikhanouskaya to be the winner of the presidential elections and Belarus’ real president-elect.
2:15 pm MEPs voted to revoke the decision to hold the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus. Now the decision to cancel (or not) the holding of the World Cup in the country should be made at today’s meeting of the International Ice Hockey Federation.
2:30 pm Students of Belarusian State Technological University have come out for a solidarity rally despite rainy weather.
2:53 pm Two child oncologists, Angelina Adamonis and Valentina Kharitonova have been sentenced to 11 days of arrest each. The women were detained at the women’s march on 12 Saturday September.
2:55 pm “Golos” platform has presented its new initiative today: the poll “Let’s support the Coordination Council with the whole country”.
With the help of the survey, one can express support for the Coordinating Council and confirm its recognition as a legitimate representative of the Belarusian society.
The poll will be running until 22 September.
3:42 pm The governments of Lithuania and Poland have signed a declaration promising to help “the Belarusian people in their aspiration to live in a free and democratic country.”
“We support the desire of Belarusian people to live in a free and democratic country, with the leadership elected in free and fair elections,” states the document signed by the prime ministers.
Saulius Skvernelis and Mateusz Morawiecki called for “free and democratic elections [in Belarus] as soon as possible.”
4:49 pm A concert in support of Lukashenka called the “Women’s Forum For Belarus” was held in Minsk today. The audience was brought to the concert on organized buses from around the country. Prior to the start of the concert, the presenter instructed the audience to shout “For Belarus,” later a huge red-green flag was sent through the audience.
Some viewers indicated that they did not know where they had been taken or why. Invitations to the concert had been sent only to the state enterprises. (NashaNiva)
4:54 pm The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus believes that the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on the situation in Belarus is “aggressive and does not contain a single constructive or balanced thesis,” and that “a minimum knowledge of international law and respect for the sovereignty of other countries would serve the MEPs well.”
5:07 pm In response to the resolution on the situation in Belarus adopted by the European Parliament, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus stated that the European Parliament, which positions itself as a serious, objective and democratic structure, “could not find the political will to look beyond its own nose, overcome unilateralism and not become a hostage to conventional cliches.” (TUT.BY)
5:10 pm The Coordination Council thanked the European Parliament for its support, stating that, “The European Parliament resolution is a very serious show of support for those members of the Presidium who, due to their political convictions, are now being imprisoned without having broken the law, while conducting themselves legally. It is also a show of support for other members of the Coordination Council who are under pressure from within Belarus. Thank you!”
5:31 pm The chancellor of the Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU), Sergei Kharitonchik, has approved the rules on professional ethics for university employees. These rules forbid the expression of one’s own political positions and the use of “non-state symbols.”
The text of the order “On the approval of the rules of professional ethics and behavior of employees of the Belarusian National Technical University,” dated 15 September, appeared on social media today.
5:35 pm In a joint statement, Belarus’ human rights organizations have given political prisoner status to 12 more people who were charged with participating in mass civil unrest. The statement, published by the “Viasna” human rights center website, calls for their release. The center itself has been stripped of its official accreditation.
5:52 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is to give a speech at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 21 September.
5:56 pm According to TUT.BY, Foreign Ministers of Northern European countries have expressed their support for sanctions against Belarusian government.
“We need to put an end to violent repressions and disproportionate brutality used by the current authorities against their own people,” the officials said.
They urged Belarusian government to release all those who have been illegally arrested, establish communication with the people and work together with OSCE.
6:21 pm In Gomel, journalist and activist Evgeny Merkis was sentenced to 15 days in jail for “participating in an unauthorized event.” The closed-door court session was held inside the district police department building.
7:15 pm This week, Minsk residents have been designing flags for their neighborhoods. Vladimir Tsesler, a well-known artist and designer, joined the effort. In the past two days, he published flag designs for a number of streets and districts, TUT.BY reports. Check out his work here.
7:43 pm On 17 September, Israeli Ambassador to Belarus, Alon Shogam, arrived at the checkpoint “Novaya Guta” on the Belarus-Ukraine border, which was crossed by more than 1,200 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims. They were unable to reach their destination, the Ukrainian city of Uman, because Ukraine closed its borders on 28 August due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pilgrims have spent several days in neutral territory between the two countries. Belarusian Red Cross, military and emergency services are providing aid, shelter and food.
“The help from Belarus has been enormous, and the people are very grateful. We hope that at some stage the border will open and they will be able to enter. But according to our religious rules, Shabbat is coming soon, Friday after sunset. This means that after this time these people will no longer be able to continue to Uman, they will have to abandon the trip,” Shogam told reporters.
7:57 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has made a statement concerning the withdrawal of the Nikolai Kozeko presidential scholarship.
“Nikolai Kozeko has been coaching the Belarusian national freestyle ski team since 1993. He has trained a number of Olympic champions. He started his work even before Lukashenka came to power. Despite this, today the authorities withdrew the scholarship that was established in his name and demanded that he return the money received in the past year. This is putting pressure on athletes and personally on Mr. Kozeko, because he said that violence towards peaceful citizens is unacceptable. People are being sacked, stripped of their titles, and financial assets that they acquired by hard work, which cannot be said about the so-called authorities,” she said.
8:05 pm In Hrodna, ten women put on wedding dresses and waved white-red-white opposition flags for a photo shoot at the “Long Live Belarus” mural. The mural appeared on an office building in central Hrodna a few weeks ago. City authorities have ordered for it to be removed. BelaPAN reports that it is already being scraped off the wall.
8:10 pm The head of the Polish government, Mateusz Morawiecki suggested that the European Union create a fund of at least €1 billion to help Belarus.
According to DW, the goal of the initiative is to support the country’s economy as well as open it up to the rest of Europe. Mr. Morawiecki is to provide more details at the upcoming meeting of heads of EU states and governments.
8:21 pm Today, Lukashenka took the stage during the pro-regime women’s forum and concert at Minsk Arena. According to Lukashenka himself, the visit was spontaneous. According to him, he was told that the event was still in progress, left work, changed his clothes, and went to greet the women who had gathered there.
In his speech, Mr. Lukashenka denied vote-rigging at the presidential election, violence and torture in detention centers, and brutal action of the riot police. He also talked about interference from the West and his concern about neighboring countries harboring hostile military intentions: “We are forced to withdraw our forces from the streets, put half the army on high alert and close our western borders, first and foremost, with Lithuania and Poland. We will also have to send reinforcements to the border with our sister country Ukraine.”
9:21 pm According to Onliner.by, a representative for border control forces in Smorgon has said in a phone call that they are yet to receive any information about closing the border with Lithuania. The checkpoints in Hrodna are also working as usual: “we have not received any official information about closing the border with Poland.” Officers in Brest are also unaware of any changes concerning the border with Ukraine.
9:36 pm According to Naviny.by, Lukashenka has dubbed Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian politicians “insane”. According to him, the people of these countries should appeal to their elites: «Stop your insane politicians, don’t let a war break out!»