Belarus

BELARUS: New law on alternative civilian service came into effect

A new law on alternative civilian service was put into force in Belarus in June 2016. With the new law 10,000 young Belarusian men to be drafted this fall will be able to apply for exercising alternative civilian service, or ‘alternativschiki’.

BELARUS: COs stand show trial

In Belarus, a law enabling alternative civilian service for religious COs is due to come in to force on June 1st 2016, but that has not stopped the army from continuously calling up COs to attend military service. Lately, two Jehovah Witnesses, Dmitry Chorba and Viktor Kalina, have been tried in “show trials”, as well as another 5 young men who chose not to go to the army for non-religious reasons. Their hearings took place in front of a selected audience of final year students from a nearby school and newly called up young men who have doubts regarding military service, thus, to deter other young men from refusing military service.

BELARUS: Conscientious objector threatened with conscription, via Forum18

A conscientious objector to military service in Belarus has been threatened with conscription, Forum 18 News Service has learned, even though President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 4 June signed into law an Alternative Service Law. But on 11 June Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Dmitry Chorba, from Rechitsa in Gomel Region, had a case under Criminal Code Article 435, Part 1 ("Refusal of call-up to military service") filed against him by the local Military Conscription Office. Although it appears that the case has been closed he fears a renewed call-up in the Autumn.

For more information, see Forum18.org, 'BELARUS: Conscientious objector threatened with conscription', July 2015: http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2083

Belarus: Alternative Service Law - "A bad law. But it exists, and that's good."

Belarus has for the first time adopted an Alternative Service Law, to take effect from 1 July 2016. The law will allow some - but not all young men - who are conscientious objectors to perform a civilian alternative service, instead of compulsory military service. However only young men with a religious objection will be eligible to apply, not those with non-religious pacifist convictions. It is also unclear whether even all young men with religious objections to military service will be allowed to do civilian alternative service.

Protection against repression in Belarus

Given the sharp increase of repressive measures by the Belarusian government and its security services against the opposition it is currently almost impossible to be socio-politically active. However, for Nash Dom ('Our House' in Russian), a network for the protection of citizens’ rights – which since 2005 has cooperated with the German Bund für Soziale Verteidigung (Federation for Social Defence) – it has become easier to protect activists from state repression in the last couple of years.

Belarus: progress for conscientious objectors?

As reported on CO-Update No 54, February/March 2010, Belorussian President Lukashenko ordered the drafting of a law on substitute service on 18 February 2010. Following this order, Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky issued an instruction on 31 March 2010 to set up an Interagency Working Group to draft a law on substitute service. The Working Group includes 13 members from different government ministries and agencies, and is to submit a draft to the Council of Ministers by 1 September 2010.

Belarus: New draft for a law on substitute service?

According to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko gave an instruction to develop a law on alternative service. This instruction followed a report on alternative service presented by State Secretary of the Security Council Leonid Maltsev on 18 February.

BELARUS: Conscientious objector Ivan Mikhailov sentenced to three months imprisonment

Country:
  • Belarus
Alert:

War Resisters' International has been informed by Forum 18 News Service that conscientious objector Ivan Mikhailov from Belarus has been sentenced to three months imprisonment by a court in the Belarusian capital Minsk on 1 February 2010.

Conscientious objectors Ivan Mikhailov and Dzmitry Smyk

Country:
  • Belarus
Not sent after:
  • 28 Feb 2010
  • Use this form to send the letter below to the relevant authority (Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus). You can add your own notes in a separate box after the standard text, if you wish. You must include a name, address, and email address; a copy will be sent to you with a cc to the WRI office (so we have a record of how many email letters have been sent out for this particular case).

Conscientious objectors Ivan Mikhailov and Dzmitry Smyk

Dear President Alexander Lukashenko

I am very concerned about the sentencing of conscientious objectors Ivan Mikhailov and Dzmitry Smyk. Ivan Mikhailov, a Messianic Jew, was sentenced to three months imprisonment on 1 February 2010. Dzmitry Smyk, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses from the city of Gomel, was sentenced to a fine of 3,500,000 Belarusian roubles in November 2009.

Ivan Mikhailov

Activist:
Start of detention:
  • 15 Dec 2009
End of detention:
  • 9 Mar 2010
Country:
  • Belarus
Description:
  • Sentenced to three months on 1 February, for refusing call-up.

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