Political Draft in Belarus

There are four main types of getting rid of “undesirable” persons in non-democratic society: assassination, prison, mental hospital and army. Only two first types were used in Belarus in the past decades now political draft is becoming a very popular form of repression in the country. For the first time it happened after the presidential elections in 2006 when during the summer draft several activists were sent to the army. It is well-known that there were numerous facts of breaking the law during the draft, including pressure on doctors by the members of special services. At the same time there were opposite cases, such as with the activist of BNF Youth Aliaksei Trubkin, who wanted to serve in the army but the authorities refused to draft him though he had no medical contraindications. In that situation the mechanism of political draft usage as a kind of repression hadn’t been worked out yet and that is why the authorities decided not to let him serve in the army what can be the prove of custom character of the political draft. In the beginning of 2008 the problem of political draft was not so important and democratic forces didn’t pay much attention to it. The attention was attracted by the expulsion on political grounds from Gomel state university of the student high-achiever Zmitser Zhaleznichenka. The bodies of the Ministry of Defence ignored the court ruling of temporarily suspension of his draft to the army. As the result he was made to take the oath. For him as for the other activists who were drafted to the army, having avoided the legislation of the country, serving in the army is the form of freedom limitation without committing any crime and any possibility to gain justice. During the same period and with the significant violations of the legislation Ales Kalita, Vital Karatush and Zmitser Beliaev were drafted. Political draft continued in 2009. Zmitser Khfedaruk, Ivan Shila, Ales Krauchenia and Franak Viachorka were drafted by force during the winter. Iauhen Skrabets and Andrus Tsianuta joined them during the summer draft. Now more detailed about those who are serving now: Franak Viachorka was born on the 26th of March 1988 in Minsk. Studied in gymnasium № 8 and in lyceum named after I. Kolas. In 2005 he entered Belarusian State University’s faculty of journalism. He was expelled from it when he was a 3rd year student on political grounds. Continued education in EHU (Vilnus, Lithuania). The head of “BNF Youth”. During the medical examination in the hospital on the 16th of January 2009 Franak was beaten by some unknown people in civilian clothes, he was cuffed and taken to the military registration and enlistment office though the examination hadn’t been over by that moment. In the building of military registration and enlistment office draft board was assembled which found him fit for military service not taking into account the results of medical examination and the record of his previous illnesses. On the following day Franak filed a complaint on the decision of the commission to the court, which had to suspend the draft till the court ruling would come into force. But on the 28th of January 2009 he was by force taken to military unit in Baranovichi and later to Mozur. Many times Franak was in hospitals with blood pressure problems. Post address: 247760, Gomel oblast, Mazyr, Astrouskaga str. v/c 48694 Zmitser Khfedaruk, was born on the 5th of March 1988 in Minsk. In 2006 finished gymnasium № 11. From 2008 is the student of Belarusian Christian College. From September 2006 till January 2008 executed the duties of BNF Youth’s head. In May 2007 was charged under the article 193-1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus – acting from the name of unregistered organization “Young Front”. On the 28th of January he was detained in his apartment and taken to the center of criminals’ isolation as if for serving administrative arrest, to which he had been sentenced 8 month before for peaceful piquet. From the center he several times was convoyed to medical examination and draft board and on the 30th of January in cuffs he was transferred to the military unit in Zhodzina where now he is serving in the army. Neither his illnesses nor the fact that he was a full-time student stopped the military registrations and enlistment office from having done it. Because Zmitser has a number o chronic diseases and the medical examination was falsified in a couple of weeks after he was taken to the military unit he got to the military hospital. He had got there several times. All the legal instances ignored Zmitser’s appeal and left the decision of draft board unchanged. Post address: 222169, Minsk oblast., Zhodzina, v/c 18662. Ivan Shila was born on the 25th of November 1990 in Saligorsk, Minsk Oblast. In summer 2008 he wasn’t given the chance to take the last exam in school № 4 in Saligorsk, he was illegally expelled and by that he wasn’t given the opportunity to enter higher educational establishment. In September 2007 he was convicted under the article 193-1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus – acting from the name of unregistered organization “Young Front”. From 2008 – deputy head of “Young Front”. In November 2008 Ivan reached call-up age. In December 2008 he was found not fit to military service on the basis of medical examination. But already on the 12th of January 2009 diagnosis which had been set earlier was changed and on the 28th of January he was sent to military unit in Lepel district of Vitsebsk Oblast. Medical and draft boards took place late in the evening and in the middle of the night he had already been convoyed to the military unit. After his numerous demands and many refuses of the Ministry of the Defence only in Summer 2009 he was let to take the last school exam and to get secondary education. Court found all the actions of the authorities legal. Post address: 211172, Vitebsk oblast, Lepel region, Mezhica, v/c 06405 Ales Krauchenia was born on the 7th of March 1987 in Baranovichi Brest Oblast. Studied in gymnasium №5. In 2004 entered Baranovichi state university, engineering faculty. In summer 2008 he was expelled on political grounds, continued his education in EHU. He is the activist of Baranovichi branch of organization “BUNT”. During the summer draft 2008 he was found not fit for military service on medical grounds and was given the deferment of military service for several months. But in January 2009 in the last days of draft he was made to pass urgent medical examination and all the previous diagnoses were changed and in several days he had already been in military unit in Asipovichi district of Mogilev Oblast. Postal address: 213720, Magileu oblast, Asipovicki region, Ruchaj, v/c 44540 Iauhen Skrabets. He was born on the 30th of October 1986 in Brest. Studied in Music-choir gymnasium №4. From 2004 he was the student of Brest state university in summer 2008 he was expelled from sports faculty. Now he is the student of EHU of political science and European research faculty. He is the activist of Brest branch of “Young Front” and correspondent of “Radio Racia” from 2009. During the winter draft he got deferment of military service for 6 months because of his diagnosis “vertebral lumbar ischialgia”. From that time military registration and enlistment office started to persecute the activist. One day he was kidnapped by unknown people and was put to the hospital. Prosecutor’s office didn’t react to this fact. In addition Iauhen has serious back illness with which, according to the Belarusian legislation it is not allowed to serve in the army, but the repeated medical examination which was held on demand of military registration and enlistment office found him fit for military service. On the 21st of September he has to come to gathering station in order to be sent to Mogilev oblast to serve in railroad forces. All the conclusions of medical commission Iauhen is going to appeal in court. Post office: 247210, Gomel oblast, Zhlobin, Leningradskaya str., v/c 83469 Andrus Tsianuta, the head of Gomel branch of “Young Front”, had deferment of military service because he studied in Briansk agricultural academy. But in July 2009 he began to get call-up papers. Military registration and enlistment office wrote that he was expelled from the academy on unknown reasons because he passed all the exams. In the academy he was shown groundless order signed only by the head of the chancery, now Andrus filed an appeal to the Ministry of Education of Russia and to the court. Besides Andrus has a number of illnesses: scoliosis of 2nd degree, mitral valve prolapse with which he is not allowed to serve, but on demand of military registration and enlistment office the repeated medical examination was held which found him fit for military service. Post office: 211422, Vitebsk oblast, Polatsk, Baravucha-3, v/c 49510 On the basis of the above mentioned examples we can define the main indications of politically motivated draft. • The conscript has the record of previous repressions (before the draft several times he went through different types of repressions, for example – he was expelled from educational establishment on political grounds, what gave the authorities the possibility to draft him to the army); • The conscript is being in the center of attention of local militia and registration and enlistment office. As a rule the representatives of KGB are present during the medical examination and draft board (during which all the previous diagnoses are changed and falsified in order to find him fit for military service). • The medical examination and draft board can be held with the breaking of the procedure (in non-working time, without warning him about the time of holding the examination, the absence of conscript) • The absence of time between the decision of draft board and sending to military unit what is against all the normative documents and decreases the possibility to file a complaint for the actions of draft board to the court. Usually the sittings of draft boards take place 1-1,5 months before the sending a conscript to military unit. Some facts can prove that the protocols of draft board sittings are made post factum. • Specific attitude by the officers. Informing other conscripts and their ideological treatment which is aimed at the forming the negative image of democratic activist; additional ideological talks and threats during the service • Numerous breakings of law on “Military service and compulsory military service”, for example in its part where it is written about the suspension of draft in case of filing an appeal to the court. If the majority of these paragraphs are observed in that case we can talk about the politically motivated draft. We ask Belarusian and international community to pay attention to this severe form of repression against the representatives of democratic forces and to make all the possible efforts to stop this illegal practice and not to let it turn into the system mechanism of pressure and isolation of democratic youth of Belarus.