Renewed attack on Belarusian Human Rights Organization
The Belarusian Ministry of Justice has approached the Supreme Court of the country with an application calling for the suspension of the activities of the human rights organization – the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), the publication "Газета". [“Gazeta”] announced today.
The application states that the reason for such a demand is that “over a long period of time the national civic association “BHC” has been systematically violating current legislation of the Republic of Belarus and its own charter”.
The human rights activists are specifically accused of having, during the parliamentary elections in October 2004 “in violation of electoral legislation sent supposed members of the given civic association to observe the elections at polling stations people who were not at that time members of the association”.
The application also claims that the Committee committed grave violations of tax legislation, and that serious underpayment to the Budget has been uncovered in the process of tax checks. As a result of this economic sanctions have been applied against the national civic association “BHC” amounting to over 155 million Belarusian roubles (around 75 thousand dollars). The application asserts that the debt in Budget payments has not yet been paid.
The Deputy Head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Oleg Gulak, attempts are being made to close the Committee as revenge for criticism during the recent Presidential elections in the country, as a result of which Oleksandr Lukashenko was elected for a third term as President.. In the course of monitoring the elections, the BHC uncovered a huge number of violations of electoral legislation.
Gulak stresses that in December 2005 the BHC successfully re-registered in the Ministry of Justice, and at that stage no complaints against the human rights activists were put forward.