Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya completed her official visit to Italy; data on torture in Belarus will be transferred to the UN; another pro-government rally near the US embassy; a human rights activist was found prone to extremism; a person can be fined for “wrong socks”
1 May 2021 | Voice of Belarus
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya completed her official visit to Italy
The main outcomes of the meetings and negotiations are as follows:
The Italian side reiterated its firm position on nonrecognition of the presidential election results of 9 August 2020, and on supporting the struggle of Belarusians for freedom.
Italy is ready to support measures aimed at increasing pressure on the Lukashenko regime in order to stop repressions and to start negotiations. Such measures might include “smart sanctions”, which are highly selective penalties designed to put maximum pressure specifically on the regime and its entourage.
Data on torture in Belarus will be transferred to the UN
Data on torture will be collected by the new IAPB platform created in Denmark with the financial support of 19 European countries. “We will collect data that can be used as evidence in the subsequent criminal investigations,” said the project leader Jens Modvig. According to him, “the platform will act as a preparatory mechanism”. “We do not expect that Belarusian authorities would participate in the criminal prosecution of those who are guilty of human rights violations in the foreseeable future,” Modvig says. “Justice can be achieved via international mechanisms.”
Pro-government trade unions held a rally near the US embassy
This morning, a large group of people, including children, was transported by bus in an organized manner and gathered near the building of the Trade Unions Federation in Minsk. Then they went straight to the US Embassy. At the rally, they shouted “No to sanctions!”, while the event was filmed by several pro-government media. The rally lasted about 20 minutes, after which all the participants dispersed.
Human rights defender found prone to extremism
The human rights activist of the Viasna center Marfa Rabkova, who has been in prison since last September, was placed on the register for preventive purposes as “prone to extremism”.
It’s likely that Marfa received this status after 25 March when she celebrated the Freedom Day with her cellmates: the women put on white clothes and wove white-red-white paper flowers into their hair. After the holiday, the group was split up. Two women were placed in a punishment cell for 5 and 10 days.
Minsk resident fined for red and white socks
Natallia from Minsk shared her story of being fined for wearing the “wrong colored” socks.
At first, police came to her on 24 March because red and white ribbons were hanging on the balcony of her apartment. The security forces removed the ribbons, drew up a protocol against Natallia for picketing and gave her a 2,030 ruble (€650) fine.
On the evening of the same day, after the trial had taken place, Natallia went to the driving school. But as soon as she left the apartment building, security officials in balaclavas and black clothes approached her saying something about socks “of the wrong color”. Natallia says she was “picked up and carried” to a prisoner transporter. The same judge, who convicted Natallia for the ribbons, fined her for the socks for 2,320 rubles (€750).
It is worth noting that Natallia was fined for the socks manufactured by the Belarusian company Mark Formelle; these socks were on sale.