Four years for political comicsWednesday, November 22, 2006 at 20:32 | Posted in Belarus, civil rights | 3 Comments
As the Belarus oppositional site Charter97.org reported as early as 1st September, the active members of the civil initiative “Third way” were experiencing persecution by the Belarus regime because they were publishing political comics that ridiculed the Lukashenka regime. The Minsk Procurator’s office were preparing a case against the publishers of the comics under accusations of libel against Aleksandr Lukashenka. “Third Way” activists Paval Marozau and Andrei Abozau were in Kiev at that point, seeking support from Ukrainian civil right activists to distribute the political comics through the Internet.
Charter97.org reported late last week that Paval Marozau had been summoned to the prosecuter’s office where he was formally identified as a suspect in libel against the Belarus dictator Lukashenka. The charges were based on material confiscated by the KGB during apartment searches of three members of “Third way” last year.
According to information from well informed sources that I received today, Paval Marozau was about to be arrested at any moment. A high profile civil right lawyer in Minsk had refused to represent him because he regarded the case as hopeless. The lawyer had unofficial information that a show trial against Mr. Marozau was predetermined to end up with a four year imprisonment verdict.
At that point, Paval Marozau managed to escape Belarus through Moscow. He arrived in Tallinn this morning where he was met up by Mr. Silver Meikar, a member of the Estonian Parliament. Mr. Meikar has visited Belarus several times before being sworn in as a MP yesterday. He was also one of the first persons to raise a tent in the demonstration tent camp at Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk after the fabricated presidential election in March this year.
Silver Meikar told me during a session of the Estonian parliament today that Paval Marozau is his close friend. He was glad that Mr. Marozau had managed to escape Belarus, apparently at the very last moment.
“Paval has a one year multiple visa to Estonia”, Mr. Meikar told me, “which will allow him to stay here for the moment. While the Estonian bureacracy is sometimes stif, I hope he could get a work permit and permanent permit of residence within a couple of months.”.
According to Mr. Meikar, Mr. Marozau has an academic degree and he would be interested in joining his fellow Belarus civil right activists in the University of Tartu. 10 Belarus students are attending the university as a part of the Estonian government’s scholarship programme for Belarus students who were expelled from universities because of their political activities.
For all the friends of Paval Marozau who must be concerned about his safety and whereabouts, I am happy to immediate his greetings that he is safe and well. He is staying with Mr. Silver Meikar at the moment and can be reached through the MP’s e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.