Luka has done it again! - ECOSY - Young European Socialists - Newsletter June 2005

Lukasjenka has done it again!

Today, on the 31:th of May, has the Chairman of the Belarusian Social-Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada) and co-ordinator of the European Coalition, Nikola Statkevich, been sentenced to three years of imprisonment.

Paval Sevyarynets, another Belarusian opposition politician was also sentenced to three years of imprisonment. These terrible news have reached us through the Brussels representative of the European Coalition and the Free Belarus Block, Olga Stuzhinskaya. Statkevich and Sevyarynets have been charged with organising protests against the rigged results of last year's elections.
As the president of the Belarusian Social-Democratic Party, is Statkevich one of the main opposition leaders against the Belarusian regime and dictator Alyaksandr Lukasjenka.

The demonstrations were organised in October last year against the rigged results of the parliamentary election vote and the referendum the same month. The referendum was about changing the Belarusian constitution in order to enable Lukasjenka to stay in power till the year 2011. Hundreds of people demonstrated in October against the referendum and claimed that it was rigged in advance to benefit Lukasjenka. During the demonstrations were around 50 persons arrested.

The trial started Monday the 23:rd of May and the sentence was given today on the 31:th of May. Statkevich refused to acknowledge the independence of the court and did therefore refuse to stand up and answer the questions at the trial. He claimed that it was a political trial. Statkevich and Sevyarynets have been charged with organising mass protest rallies against the rigged results of the election and referendum, however is the main complaint against them, according to our source, that they were stopping public traffic during the protest rally.
This proves the true nature of the Belarusian regime – it is able to do anything to oppress the opposition in order to stay in power. Because of this is the regime violating the political freedom of every individual and therefore also the basic human rights.

We kindly ask all member organisations and activists to show their support to the Belarusian social democratic opposition, especially to the social democratic youth, through all possible channels. Demonstrations and public activities are welcomed as well as pressure put on mother parties to raise the question of lack of democracy in Belarus.

Belarus is the boil of Europe being the last dictatorship of our continent. As young socialists and social democrats we know that no dictatorship lasts forever. Democracy always prevails but it requires hard work. This is obviously also the case when it comes to regimes such as the Belarusian.

For us young European socialists and social democrats is democracy one of the main targets, but we can never settle with only fighting for democracy within the sphere of our union. The Union must also do what it can to promote democracy and human rights at the international scene, especially in its own neighbourhood. The EU must therefore take a stronger stand against Lukasjenka in favour of the Belarusian opposition’s demands of democratic reforms. EU must also put a stronger, visible, pressure upon the Belarusian regime through sending high ranked election observers to all elections as well as giving open support to the opposition.

Laila Naraghi
Vice president ECOSY
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