For Immediate Release
March 12, 2012
GOMEL, Belarus—A criminal case proceeded on February 1, 2012, against 26-year-old Aleksandr Belous, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, for being a conscientious objector.
In the fall of 2011, Belous was called up for military service. Due to his Bible-based beliefs, Belous requested alternative civilian service, which is provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. However, the local military board denied his request and a criminal case was initiated. On December 20, 2011, the district inspector of the Zheleznodorozhny District Department of Internal Affairs in Gomel ordered a cancellation of the case. Nevertheless, Prosecutor Denis Mikushev annulled the cancellation and on February 1, 2012, the criminal case began again.
Authorities in Belarus persist in their prosecution despite the fact that President Aleksandr Lukashenko recently demanded that a law on alternative service be adopted. However, Belous remains optimistic: “I’m willing to carry out my civic duty and work hard in an alternative service, but without being part of the military or under its supervision and control. Hopefully the authorities will make a provision for this constitutional right.”
J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5600
Belarus: Pavel Yadlouski, tel. +375 17 292 93 78
Belgium: European Association of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses, tel. +32 2 782 0015
Last updated 12 March 2012 14:05:44 GMT
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