URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
BLR 001 / 0112 / OBS 014.1
Sentencing / Arbitrary detention
January 31, 2012
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the following situation in Belarus.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the sentencing to four days of administrative detention of Mr. Aleh Volchek, Head of “Legal Aid to the Population”, an organisation that provided legal assistance and was liquidated in 2003. The organisation recently published a report about the trial of Mr. Ales Bialiatski, President of HRC Viasna and FIDH Vice-President. Mr. Volchek's recent work focused notably on political prisoners.
According to the information received, on January 30, 2012, Mr. Aleh Volchek was sentenced by Judge Yakunchykhin of the Central District Court of Minsk to four days of administrative detention for allegedly using foul language in the street, under Article 17.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences on “petty hooliganism”. Mr. Aleh Volchek, who denied having used such language, was found guilty following the testimony of the Deputy Head of the Central District Police Department Mr. Anton Shakhlai. During the weekend, he was held in custody in the Delinquents’ Isolation Centre in Akrestin
The Observatory strongly denounces the sentencing of Mr. Aleh Volchek, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and calls for his immediate release.
On January 27, 2012, at around 3:35 pm, Mr. Aleh Volchek was arrested by the police in the street in Minsk, not far from the boulevard Shevchenko, in relation to charges of “petty hooliganism” under Article 17.1 of the Administrative Code, and detained in Maskouski District Police Department of Minsk. The exact reasons of his detention were not known at the time.
The Observatory urges the authorities of Belarus to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Aleh Volchek, as well as of all human rights defenders in Belarus;
ii. Release Mr. Aleh Volchek immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary;
iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against him, including at the judicial level, and more generally against all human rights defenders in the country;
iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with:
- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- its Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus.
· President Alexander Lukashenko, ul .Karla Marksa, 38, 220016 Minsk, Belarus, Fax: + 375 172 26 06 10 or + 375 172 22 38 72
· Administration of the President of Belarus, Head of the Administration of the President of Belarus, Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Makei, Ul. K. Marksa 34, 220016 Minsk, Fax: + 375 17 226-06-10
· General Prosecutor, Grigory Alekseevich Vasilevich, Internatsionalnaya str. 22, 220050 Minsk, Belarus, Fax: + 375 17 226 42 52
· Minister of Justice of Belarus, Mr. Viktor Grigorevich Golovanov, Ul. Kollektornaya, 10, 220004 Minsk, Belarus, Email email@example.com
· President of the Supreme Court of Belarus, Mr. Valentin Olegovich Sukalo, Ul. Lenina, 28, 220030 Minsk, Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva, 15 avenue de la paix, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 748 24 51. Email: email@example.com
· Embassy of Belarus in Brussels, 192 avenue Molière, 100 Ixelles, Belgium, Fax : + 32 2.340.02.87, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Belarus in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, January 31, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29