The authorities are going to close down the Belarusian Helsinki Committee?

The Ministry of Taxes and Duties asks to initiate the process of winding up the RPRPA "Belarusian Helsinki Committee". The Ministry of Justice informed the BHC chairman Aleh Hulak that the taxmen appealed with such a statement to the ministry.

According to the legislation, in the case of receiving two notes of warning during a year, the Ministry of Justice has the right to turn to the court for the suspension of the activities or liquidation of a public organization. Please note that on June 6, 2011 the Ministry of Justice issued the second written warning to the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. The basis for the warning was "continuing violations of tax laws." The human rights defenders appealed against this warning notice to the court, but it did not bring positive results.

In the officials’ opinion, the BHC must pay into the budget over 240 million BYR of taxes and fine sanctions for using grants of the European Commission in 2002-2003, which in accordance with the international treaties were granted tax-free. Within the framework of international technical assistance from the European Commission over 30 NGOs were financed, however, tax payments have been assessed only to two organizations.

The Maskouski District Inspectorate of the Ministry for Taxes and Duties of the Republic of Belarus confirmed the intended use of the funds received. But at the same time the inspectorate considered the grant funds as the income from non-core activities and assessed the sum of money for paying.

Considering the decision of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties to be illegal, the BHC appealed against it to the court. The national courts of all instances held that the human rights activists do not have to compensate to the state budget.
But on the eve of presidential elections in 2006, which were monitored by the BHC, the decisions of the economic courts were reviewed by the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Court. The Inspectorate of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties attached and confiscated the BHC property in the amount of BYR 255,000. The accounts of the organization were blocked.
In 2006 due to the absence of criminal events the Department for Financial Investigations of the State Control Committee closed the criminal case for the departure from paying taxes against the BHC officials.

We remind you that today the Belarusian Helsinki Committee – the only human rights organization of the national level, registered in Belarus. The BHC monitors all election campaigns, prepares expert reports on the most high-profile cases and provides legal support to citizens in 11 cities of the country.

Currently the BHC is in correspondence with the Ministry of Justice on the above subject.

News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.