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UN: Freedom of speech and assembly restricted in Belarus

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The freedom of speech and assembly are restricted in Belarus. Amendments to the Law on Mass Media and ‘the BelTA’ case testify to it, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus Miklós Haraszti announced at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. “At least 16 independent journalists were detained for using a password belonging to one of them to access the news feed of a state news agency,” he noted.

The amendments to the Law on Mass Media will liquidate the Internet user anonymity since registration will be required for comments.  “The last public space where the freedom of opinion still exists will be closed,” tut.by quotes Miklós Haraszti.

The protests against the construction of an accumulator plant in Brest have also been mentioned in the UN. 14 people were detained not long ago. Some of them were arrested, Haraszti reported. The death penalty has not been abolished in Belarus so far, he added.

Miklós Haraszti’s speech is mere farce, Belarus’ official rapporteur Ina Vasileuskaya said. “Using human rights for political manipulation is disgraceful,” she noted.  The EU representative has urged the Belarusian authorities to cooperate with the special rapporteur whose mandate is not accepted by Minsk.