Belarusian Opposition Leader Blasts Supreme Court For Denying Registration

Alyaksandr Milinkevich, the leader of the Movement for Freedom, said on September 20 that the Supreme Court made a politically motivated decision by upholding the denial of registration to the group, Belapan reported. In its September 20 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the Justice Ministry, which refused to register Milinkevich's movement in July. The Justice Ministry claimed that the founders of the movement failed to pay the required fee into the national budget, paying it into a local budget instead. Milinkevich said the movement will appeal to the UN Human Rights Council in order to highlight flagrant violations of freedom of association in Belarus. Milinkevich also pledged that his organization will continue to file applications for registration to show the absurdity of the authorities' policy, the absence of the rule of law, and disrespect for human rights in Belarus. The Movement for Freedom was founded in Hrodna in May. After it first failed to get registered, the movement held another founding conference in August and again applied for registration earlier this month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," September 14, 2007). The Justice Ministry has not yet replied. JM