Court confiscates Belarusian Helsinki Committee office equipment
On Tuesday 5 December court bailiffs confiscated the Belarusian Helsinki Committees property. The items listed included a computer, a fax machine and other office items. The human rights group is accused of not having paid tax on financial aid received under the European Union TASIS programme (technical assistance from the EU to CIS countries).* To cover the tax “debt” and fine, the court ruled to confiscate part of the BHCs office equipment worth 255 thousand Belarusian roubles (around 120 USD).
The Belarusian Supreme Court is also considering an application from the Ministry of Justice demanding that the Committee be closed down and claiming that the human rights group is “systematically violating Belarusian legislation and its own charter”.
Representatives of the Committee consider that the authorities are trying to close it down in revenge for criticism of the presidential elections in March 2006 which were [officially – translator] won by Aleksandr Lukashenko. During their monitoring of the elections, the Committee highlighted numerous violations of electoral legislation.
* cf. the links below: according to a Belarusian government decision, this aid s not subject to tax.