Belarusian journalists are still behind bars; Estonia will allocate 800 thousand euros for joint projects and support for independent journalism; the Belarusian government is obligated to comply with the resolution of the UN Human Rights Committee within the next 180 days
2 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
The Investigative Committee refused to release journalist Katsiaryna Andreyeva on bail
The Investigative Committee refused to grant the motions for the release of Belsat TV journalist, Katsiaryna Andreyeva, under the personal guarantee of Valery Kalinouski, the chairman of Belarusian Association of Journalists, chief editors of the “Novy Chas” and “Narodnaya Volya” and a journalist.
The cited reason is the exhaustive evidence of the committed crime collected during the preliminary investigation. The senior investigator of the Frunzenski District Department of the Investigative Committee of Minsk, I. Kurylovich, called the petitions unfounded and without grounds.
Earlier, the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus had not granted the motion for a Belsat journalist Darya Chultsova’s release on bail. The explanation stated that, if released, Darya Chultsova might try to hide from the investigating authorities and hinder the preliminary investigation of her criminal case.
Journalists Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova have been behind bars since 15 November 2020. They were arrested after a live broadcast of a peaceful protest’s dispersal in Minsk for the Belsat TV channel. On that day hundreds of residents gathered at The Square of Changes in memory of the murdered Raman Bandarenka. A criminal case has been opened against the journalists under article 342 of the Criminal Code, “Organization and preparation of actions that grossly breach public order or active participation in them.”
According to the stories told by one of their former prison cellmates, behind bars Darya and Katsiaryna had experienced allergy and panic attacks.
A former mayor of Homel won her case against Belarusian authorities in Geneva
The UN Human Rights Committee (Switzerland) published its decision No. 2330/2014 on the complaint of Sviatlana Holdade, a former chairman of the Homel City Executive Committee.
In 2012, a former mayor of Homel, Sviatlana Holdade, together with human rights activists Leanid Sudalenka and Anatol Paplauny, were protesting against the criminal prosecution of human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who in 2011 had been imprisoned for 4.5 years based on false accusations. The authorities refused to file an official collective appeal to hold a picket, citing the requirement of entering into commercial contracts with police, ambulance and local cleaning services prior to the event.
International experts came to the unanimous conclusion that the facts presented by a group of Homel residents prove that the Republic of Belarus had violated their rights to peaceful assembly and free expression of their views (Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). In connection with the official refusal of Minsk to cooperate the Human Rights Committee also found a violation of article 2 of the Covenant according to which all countries are obligated to fulfill their international liabilities.
The decision made in Switzerland is final and not subject to appeal. Within the next six months (180 days) the Belarusian government is obligated to:
- provide to the initiators of the complaint with an effective means of legal protection. This requires, in particular, to provide victims with the adequate compensation;
- take all the steps necessary to prevent similar violations from happening in the future by reviewing its national legislation and practice of its application;
- within the next 180 days inform the UN Human Rights Committee about the implementation of the decision and publish it in the state media in both the Russian and Belarusian languages.
Estonia will allocate about 800 thousand euros to support joint projects with Belarus
Estonia is ready to financially support projects dedicated to independent media in Belarus as well as pay special attention to projects connected with higher education. Estonian authorities plan to allocate 800 thousand euros in order to achieve those goals.
“Belarus has been on the priority list of countries for Estonian developmental cooperation since 2011. And it is our duty to support Belarus now more than ever before. In order to support the stability of Belarusian democracy we are able to share our experience with the implementation of reforms,” said Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
In regards to the projects in connection with higher education, it is planned to develop, in particular, technical training. Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, University of Tartu, Tallinn Health Care College, Open Estonia Foundation and the Estonian Center for Eastern Partnership have already expressed a desire to participate in the Belarusian-Estonian collaborations.
For more information on the events of 2 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: