The house of Representatives approved several amendments to the Criminal Code in the second reading on December 19. In particular, criminal responsibility for acting on behalf of an unregistered organization (article 193.1) has been removed from the Criminal Code, the human rights website Viasna reports.
Administrative responsivity will be imposed instead – article 23.88 of the Administrative Code. Infringers may be fined for up to 50 base amounts.
The draft needs to be approved by the Council of the Republic and signed by the President in order to come into force. It will be officially published after that.
17 people have bene subjected to criminal responsibility since the introduction of article 193.1. Five of them were imprisoned.
Members of the unregistered civil association "Partnership" Tsimafei Dranchuk, Mikola Astreika, Andrei Shalaika and Enira Branitskaya were imprisoned in August 2006. The young people had planned to be observers at the presidential election.
Three activists of the Young Front were persecuted after that. Eduard Zelyankou from Zhlobin was fined and Zmitser Dashkevich was imprisoned for 18 months in 2006.
A check-up of Mahilyou Viasna member Alyaksandr Burakou’s activities was started a month ago. Burakou is the administrator of the website "Human Rights in Mahilyou" belonging to the unregistered organization Human Rights Centre Viasna, policemen said. However, the check-up was suspended on December 5.