Analytics and Interview

On 16 January 2015 late in the evening the website of the Ministry of Justice published a statement that the NGO Committee Against Torture had been added to the register of non-profit organizations designated as ‘foreign agents’.
Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch and Honorary Participant of International Youth Human Rights Movement: As the crisis in Ukraine escalated this spring, the Kremlin’s vicious crackdown on civil society also escalated. Space for independent civic activity in Russia is shrinking dramatically, but international policymakers and the media have been understandably too distracted to do much about it. Since early spring, it seems as though every week brings a new pernicious law or legislative proposal.
Earlier this year, the correspondent of Youth Human Rights Movement from Germany Jakob Stürmann interviewed Konstantin Baranov, member of the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement. They discussed so called “law against homosexual propaganda” and the overall situation of LGBT in Russia.  

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Oleg Sentsov, Olexander Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy have been held in Russian jails for two years already under fabricated charges of ‘terrorism’. We consider it being necessary to express solidarity with those who are persecuted due to their pro-Ukrainian views, civic stand and desire for freedom in Russia-annexed Crimea.
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«We have a few questions for you,» a border guard told Sinaver Kadyrov, a Crimean Tatar activist, at the Armyansk checkpoint in northern Crimea on Jan. 23. Kadyrov was on his way to Kherson, in southern Ukraine, to fly to Turkey for medical treatment. It was the beginning of an ordeal that ended with a local court expelling him from Crimea, his home of almost 25 years.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

Mark Twain


Youth Human Rights Movement

Mass searches in oppositionists' flats all over Belarus


Mass searches have been held by policemen and KGB men in Minsk, Hrodna, Brest, Homen and Mahilyou at the places where democratic activists live. Policemen burst doors.

The searches were held in the framework of the defamation criminal case opened under Article 250 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (dissemination of false information about goods and services).

The first search was held on May 18 in Minsk in the headquarters of "Say the Truth!" civil campaign. It was held among others by policemen from the special brigade of Savetski police department who had armoured vests and machine guns. All computers, leaflets, booklets and books were confiscated from the office.

Riot policemen hindered journalists to make pictures and video the events. After the search the headquarters of the campaign in Masherau Street was sealed.

Radio Svaboda informs that 11 activists of the campaign were detained and taken to the police department of Leninski district. About 20 persons in all detained during searches in different parts of the capital were taken to the police department.

They were interrogated about the activities of "Say the Truth!" campaign: where their leaflets are printed, what events are planned.

The flat of the campaign's leader, a poet Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu was also searched. His computers, mobile phones, leaflets, books were confiscated. He was also taken to the police department of Leninski district for questioning.

Searches have also been held in the flats of journalists Alyaksandr Ulitsyonak, Alyaksandr Fyaduta and Syarhei Vaznyak, who cooperate with the campaign. Their computers, data carriers and printed materials were sezied. The journalists were taken to the police department of Leninski district for interrogation as well.

It was reported in the evening that the editor-in-chief of "Tovarishch" newspaper Syarhei Vaznyak had been called a suspect and detained for three days. He was taken to the remand prison.

In the office of "NOVAK" independent opinion polls labaratory headed by Andrei Vardamatski all financial documents were seized. The agency obviously cooperated with Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu as well. A search was also held at the place of political science professor of the European Humanities university Svyatlana Navumava.

The flat of "Say the Truth!" campaign in Frunzenski district of Minsk Yury Fabisheuski was searched as well. His computer and leaflets of the campaign were seized. Then the activist was taken to interrogation to the police department of Leninski district. Flats of the United Civil Party activists and participants of the campaign Alyaksandra Vasilevich and Dzmitry Bandarchuk have been serached too. Notebooks, phones, memory sticks, a printer have been confiscated.

An activist of "Say the Truth!" campaign from Minsk Mikhail Bashura told after interrogation in the police department where he had spent more than 4 hours, that his computer, notebook and data carriers were seized.

Yefim Vasilyeu from Barysau who had been kept in the police department of Leninski district of Minsk for at least 4 hours, told that he was not said in which criminal case he was interrogated as a witness.

In Mahilyou policemen and KGB officers held searches in the head offices of two independent organisations: "Forward movement" and a charity "Sincerety". Books of Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, system blocks and booklets "Say the truth!" have been confiscated.

On May 18 in Homel about ten policemen and people in mufti blocked the flat of the former deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, an activsit of the United Civil Party Yury Varonezhtsau. The flat of the activist is searched for about 5 hours. Policemen confiscated 3 notebooks, one of which belongs to his 10-year-old daughter, his son's computer, a video camera, mobile phones, data carriers - CDs, memory sticks and videocassettes, books and money - from $5,000 to 7,000.

"They scraped out all the money they found in different places. Most of the money belong to my wife. We do not know how to live," the politician sain in an interview to BelaPAN.

Policemen have also picked up from the UCP office the chairman of the United Civil party's city branch Andrei Talochyn. The policemen demonstrated a search warrant for searching his flat. Two system blocks of the computer, two scanners, two mobile phones, CDs, photos from a personal photo album, a memory stick, a printer and party booklets have been seized.

Searches in the flats of Social Democrats, members of the United Civil Party, of the Free Trade Union and of activists of "Say the Truth!" campaign have been held in Brest.

During the search in the flat of the chairperson of Brest city branch of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) Hanna Kanius a system block of the computer and two notebooks were seized, BelaPAN was told by the deputy chairman of the regional branch of the party Valyantsin Lazarenkau.

As said by him, the search was held on May 18 by 4 policemen at the place where Kanyus lives almost at the same time when the office of the regional branch of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) was searched.

"At the moment Kanius was in our office. Her father was at home. As the report of the search reads, the grounds for the search, as well as the grounds for the search in the office, was initiation of the criminal case in Minsk," Lazarenkau added.

A search was held in the headquarters of the Brest branch of the Belarusian independent trade union of radio electronic industry. There was no one in the office, so the entrance door was burst by an emergency service worker.

In Hrodna the flat of "Say the Truth!" activist Ihar Lameka was searched. He was picked up from his working place by policemen in mufti.

In Vaukavysk a search took place at the place of the UCP member Vitaly Hulyak. It was held by policemen from Hrodna.

Office equipment and printed materials have been confiscated from all of them. And even a Pole's card was seized from Vitaly Hulyak as well.

In the flats of "Say the truth!" activists in Barysau searches were held as well. As BelaPAN was informed by one of the activists of the civil campaign, a businessman Viktar Harbachou, in his absence in the flat where he lives policemen burst the door. Computers, documents and other materials wer seized.

He told that an analogous situation happened to Barysau activist of the campaign Mikhail Vasilyeu, who is in Minsk now. "The on;y difference is that his door had not been broken. But policemen bursted into the flat under the threat of smashing in the door policemen forced entry into the flat, and started to seize office equipment and documents," Harbachou stated.

Vitsebsk-based activist Lidziya Sagidullina was called in the police department of Kastrychnitski district for questioning about printed materials of "Say the truth!" campaign seized from her in late April. But she was interrogated in the framework of the criminal case under Article 250 of the Criminal Code.

Еще к одной активистке Галине Богдановой милиционеры пришли домой и предъявили постановление на обыск по этой самой статье. У женщины конфисковали 50 буклетов кампании и канцелярскую продукцию с логотипом кампании.

Another activist Halina Bahdanava was visited at home by policemen. She was handed in a search warrant under the same article. 50 booklets of the campaign and stationary with the logo of the campaign were seized from her.

We remind that the tactics of the regime to hold searches on one day is not new. On March 16 in news offices and flats of the journalists Natallya Radzina, Iryna Khalip, Svyatlana Kalinkina and Maryna Koktysh, and leader of "European Belarus" civil campaign Andrei Sannikov searches were held and computers sezied. In the news office of website the number of the seized computers was the largest one, 8 items.