Belarusian journalists spent 1,200 days behind bars
In 2020, the profession of a reporter in Belarus is certainly one of the three most dangerous. According to the estimates of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, as of December 29, nine media representatives are in jail for criminal cases. A total of 15 media workers are under investigation. Including the employees of the Press Club who were detained on December 22.
In the election year, 477 journalists were detained in the country, of whom at least 62 were victims of violence by the security forces. Representatives of the media have served 97 administrative arrests, for a total of 1200 days. The peak of the repression fell in August, when, after the elections, mass protests began in the country, during which 160 media workers were detained. Slightly fewer – 107 journalists – were detained in October.
At that time, four newspapers had to stop work, and access to more than 50 socio-political and media sites was restricted. The total amount of fines for the media and their employees has reached almost 60 thousand rubles (about $23,000).
The All-Belarusian Assembly will be held on February 11-12
The All-Belarusian People’s Assembly will be held on February 11-12, 2021, and delegates are expected to be nominated on February 5. Alexander Lukashenko said that the election of delegates will begin even earlier - from December 29.
“These should be people representing all strata and groups of the population, the entire Belarusian people. This has always been the case, since 1996 when we held the first All-Belarusian Congress,” BelTA news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying.
Earlier Lukashenko said that he wants to make this assembly a constitutional body. Preparations for the forum officially began in October. The main organizing committee at the republican level was headed by Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko.
The meeting is expected to discuss the new Constitution. Yuri Voskresensky, a participant in the famous meeting with Lukashenko in the KGB pre-trial detention center, announced that he would offer amnesty for political prisoners in the project.
Lukashenko signed a decree on the convocation of the 6th All-Belarusian People’s Assembly to implement “the constitutional right of citizens to participate in the discussion of issues of state and public life of the country.”
The number of participants and invitees will be 2,700, according to the number of seats in the audience. The Assembly will be held at the Palace of the Republic in Minsk.
Forum participants from regions and Minsk are elected taking into account the norms of representation by regional and city Councils of Deputies and the most numerous public associations.
The list of invited persons is formed by the organizing committee from among the heads of state bodies and organizations, representatives of local Councils of Deputies, public associations, media, employees of diplomatic missions and consulates of foreign states, representatives of Belarusian diasporas, international and foreign organizations.
It is planned to bring up the Program of socio-economic development of Belarus for 2021-2025 and the main directions of socio-political development of the country for discussion at the 6th All-Belarusian People’s Assembly.
Pavel Latushko’s People’s Anti-Crisis Administration announced that it would seek sanctions for all participants in the 6th All-Belarusian People’s Assembly. They also want to add the delegates to the database of the Unified Book of Registration of Crimes “as people who grossly violate the constitution, rights, and freedoms of citizens of Belarus.” Earlier, high-ranking officials from Belarus were included in the EU sanctions list.
Tihanovskaya announces 4th package of EU sanctions against Belarus at the end of January
On December 30, a member of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s team, a former career diplomat Valery Kovalevsky, announced that the fourth package of EU sanctions against Belarus is being prepared. It can be adopted in late January or early February.
The European Union published on December 17 a list of Belarusian officials and companies that were included in the third package of sanctions. The sanctions list includes, in particular, Dana Holdings / Dana Astra, Sinezis, Beltechexport, 140 Repair Plant OJSC, AGAT - Electromechanical Plant OJSC, the Presidential Administration, and MZKT, etc.
Two businessmen, Alexander Shakutin and Nikolai Vorobey, were sanctioned as individuals. No sanctions have been imposed on their businesses. The list is published in the official journal of the European Union.
Also included in the sanctions list are Anatoly Sivak (ex-head of the Minsk City Executive Committee, now Deputy Prime Minister), Gennady Bogdan (Presidential Administration), Igor Burmistrov (Internal Troops), Nikolai Vorobey (businessman), Yulia Gustyr (judge), Natalia Dedkova (judge ), Artem Dunko (DFR KGK), Alena Zhivitsa (judge), Sergey Kolinnik (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Oleg Karazey (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Vladimir Karanik (ex-Minister of Health, now Governor of the Grodno Region), Natalya Kochanova (head of the Council of the Republic), Dmitry Kuryan, Andrey Lagunovich (judge), Pavel Legkiy (ex-first deputy minister of information), Alena Litvina (judge), Igor Lutskiy (ex-head of STV, now minister of information), Alena Nekrasova (judge), Alexander Petrash (judge), Vadim Prigara (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Viktor Stanislavchik (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Vitaly Stasyukevich (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Alexander Turchin (head of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee), Marina Fedorova (judge), Victoria Shabunya (judge), Alexander Shakutin (businessman), Andrey Shved (prosecutor general), Dmitry Shumilin (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Ivan Eismont (head of Belteleradiocompany).
The first two packages of EU sanctions affected 55 Belarusian officials and security officials, including Alexander Lukashenko, who are banned from entering the EU and are facing freezing of bank accounts if they are found.
There is still no decision to postpone the World Hockey Cup from Minsk
President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel denied the information spread by the Swiss publication Watson about the alleged decision to transfer the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship from Belarus. “There is no solution yet,” the hockey official said.
Earlier, Watson, citing its sources in the IIHF, reported that the 2021 World Hockey Championship would definitely not be held in Minsk. It was reported that it was decided to postpone the championship because of the political situation in Belarus, even regardless of whether the Belarusian crisis is resolved. It was also reported that options for holding the 2021 World Cup are now being considered either only in Latvia, or in Riga and Bratislava or Prague. It was originally planned that the World Hockey Championship in 2021 will be held by Belarus and Latvia.
The decision on where to host the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship is scheduled to be made by January 11 next year.
The world championship was to be held from May 21 to June 6 in Minsk and Riga. The Belarusian side has not yet received any notification of the transfer. It is known that Russia can seize the initiative. There are also options Riga and Bratislava or Riga and Prague.
A few days ago, Alexander Lukashenko was scheduled to meet with the head of the IIHF Rene Fasel, and its general secretary Horst Lichtner. But the representatives of the international federation were found to have a coronavirus.
The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Rene Fasel, said that he would meet with Lukashenko immediately after Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 2021. At the meeting, they plan to discuss preparations for the upcoming World Ice Hockey Championship.
The head of the IIHF stressed that everything possible would be done to let the world championship take place in Minsk.