Independent civic association liquidated in Belarus
22 August 2006 The Belarusian Supreme Court has handed down a ruling to have the civic association “The Belarusian Factory of Thought” liquidated. The pretext for the ruling was that the legal address of the “Factory” was in a private flat.
As Igor Karnei reports from Minsk, the organization was registered in 1997 and consists of more than 100 independent analysts and around 20 research centres.
The review of the application lodged by the Ministry of Justice against the “Belarusian Factory of Thought” began in the Supreme Court on 24 January 2006. Then the activity of the organization was suspended on the grounds that its legal address was in a private apartment. As the coordinator of the organization sociologist Oleg Manaev reports, the members of the association saw no possibility of moving the legal address since they lacked “both the financial means and an address for re-registration”. Oleg Manaev considers that the norm stating that it is unlawful to link a legal address to a private flat contravenes the Constitution of Belarus.
Experts consider that the “Belarusian Factory of Thought” is a unique association in the republic. However, as its coordinator notes, given the ruling of the Supreme Court of Belarus, the “Factory” has essentially been declared “antagonistic and against the state”.