Opposition youth Zhaleznichenka refuses to take military oath


Young opposition activist Dzmitry Zhaleznichenka refused to take the military oath on Saturday as he insists that his recruitment was unlawful.

When reached by BelaPAN on February 9, he said, “I was called up for military service illegally and we will be able to prove this in court as soon as we have an opportunity.”

“I did not take the oath so that they won’t be able to accuse me of losing some gun and prosecute me. I don’t refuse to serve my people, but I will do this legally, when, for instance, I’m drafted upon graduation from the university,” Mr. Zhaleznichenka said.

Mr. Zhaleznichenka, a member of the Belarusian Popular Front, was sent to a military unit on January 25, three days after his second expulsion from Homyel State University.

His mother sued a Homyel district military recruitment office as she believes that her son is eligible for deferment for health reason.

The family also complained about the second expulsion to Homyel’s Tsentralny District Court.

At a preliminary hearing of the suit against the military recruitment office on February 8, Judge Yury Zhoraw announced a court order suspending the activist’s military service that was issued on February 1.

The activist was expelled from the university for alleged violations of its internal rules on both occasions.

A district court in Homyel overturned the first expulsion order in January and ruled that Mr. Zhaleznichenka should be reinstated as third-year student at the university’s mathematics department, where he had studied before September 2007.

The rector signed the second order after the board of the students’ union voted seven to five in favor of Mr. Zhaleznichenka’s expulsion. At the meeting, Valery Nedastup, head of the university’s legal department, said that the first order had been overturned because of merely technical errors, and recalled that the youth had served a jail sentence on a charge of disorderly conduct following his first expulsion.