Appeal of the Belarusian Youth Movement of America to support young Belarusian activists
Friday, 30 January 2009
The Belarusian Youth Movement appeals to the Belarusian nation all over the world asking to support young Belarusian activists Ivan Shyla, Franak Viachorka and Zmitser Khvedaruk. The BYMA calls out to come out against drafts into army of the Belarusian citizens and organize a political support action in front of the Belarusian embassies in foreign countries and the HQ of the United Nations in New York.
The BYMA informs that unlawful army drafts continue nevertheless the young people were found unfit for military service by medical committees of the military registration and enlistment office. We are firmly convinced that these actions are connected with the political opinions of the young people. And army draft is just continued persecution.
Earlier BNF supporters Zmitser Zhaleznichenka, Vital Karatysh and Ales Kalita were forcefully drafted into the army.
There were also attempts to call up for military service Paval Kurjanovich, Fedar Charankov, Paval Batuev, Artsem Zabaryn, Ales Krutkin, activist Uladzimir Sergeev and students participating in Kalinouski Program and students of European Humanitarian University in Vilna.
Franak Viachorka, the leader of “The Youth of BPF” (youth branch of the BNF), Ivan Shyla, the leader of the Salihorsk branch of “Young Front”, are glaring examples of political prosecution. In both cases the young men were expelled from the educational establishments because of their active social lives, they were severely beaten and arrested on many occasions during oppositional events in different Belarusian cities.
Both young men were considered unfit for military service according to their medical records, but their cases were revised through preconceived medical examination and resulted in “legal” military draft.
On February 18, 2008 Franak Viachorka was expelled from the university (he was a third-year honors student. Journalism Faculty) as he failed 2 exams a month before. During those exams Franak was serving an administrative sentence of 15-days arrest. On December 16, 2008 he was arrested and was taken in custody on a charge of cursing during the court trial. On June 28 his name appeared on the black list of people who are not allowed to leave the Republic of Belarus.
Viachorka had been declared unfit for military service in July and September 2008 in accordance with two chronic diseases. Towards the end of September 2008, the regional medical commission of the army sent him to the military hospital # 432 for a new medical assessment. During his stay at the hospital, he was repeatedly denied access to his medical records.
On January 16, 2009 Franak Viachorka was beaten and forcefully escorted to the local military enlistment and registration office. Then the enlistment office found him fit for military service and handed him conscription to join the army on January 26. His draft was later suspended by a court decision. Franak appealed against that decision. However, Viachorka has already been detained by the police and taken to a military unit in Baranovichi, Brest region.
In 2007 Ivan Shyla was charged with criminal offence for activities on behalf of an unregistered organization Malady Front and was found guilty in September 2007. In June 2008 because of his active public activities Ivan Shyla was expelled from school a day before the last final examination
January 12, 2009 he was guarded to the military enlistment office. A camera crew of BT state-controlled TV channel was videotaping.
Ivan Shyla in his statement dated January 19, 2009 appealed to the authorities and demanded to respect his right for basic education and to give him a possibility to pass the last exam and thus finish the secondary school in the following year.
Ivan Shyla refused medical examination in writing; nevertheless military medical commission decided Shyla was able-bodied for military service. At the present moment Ivan is in the military unit in the village of Mezhytsy, Lepel district Vitebsk region.
BYMA appeals to all Belarusian citizens to support the young people and calls upon the authorities of Belarus
* to provide an impartial and independent medical evaluation of all persons to be drafted into compulsory military service;
* to put an immediate end to all forms of harassment of activists from youth organizations
* to respect the right to education of all its citizens, regardless of their political and civil activities.
On February 7 at 2p.m. in NYC opposite the building of the United Nations Organization BYMA is planning to organize an action-support of the Belarusian activists.
Address: 760 United Nations Plaza, New York City, NY 10017 (E 42 and E 43 Streets at 1st Avenue, opposite the HQ of the UNO).
We also call on Belarusians abroad to hold similar support actions in their cities and towns and inform Belarusian mass media about the time and place of these events. Only united we can achieve changes in our Belarus. Belarusians, it’s time to unite!
Friends of the Belarusian Youth Movement of America