Plus EU police say goodbye to Bosnia and arrests made in Euroroma party blast in Bulgaria.by Jeremy Druker, Ioana Caloianu, Joshua Boissevain, and Sofia Lotto Persio 2 July 2012
The journalist remains under house arrest and is forbidden to leave the country until his trial, according to Polish Radio. The topics of the offending articles ranged from the plight of political prisoners, to silent anti-regime street protests and the controversial trial and death sentences handed out to the two men convicted for the 2011 Minsk metro bombing.
Last week, Poland summoned the Belarusian ambassador to explain Poczobut’s detention. Some political analysts viewed the journalist’s release as a way to ease tensions before Lukashenka’s 1 July trip to Kyiv for the final of the Euro 2012 soccer championship final, co-hosted by Poland.
Poczobut was detained last year on similar charges for three months and received a sentence – later suspended – of three years. The charge of defamation of the president is punishable by up to five years in jail, so Poczobut could receive up to seven years and nine months if the earlier sentence is reimposed, the journalist told the Polish Press Agency.
The Mongolian opposition Democratic Party has claimed victory in the country’s 28 June parliamentary elections, beating its rival and former coalition partner the Mongolian People’s Party, Bloomberg reports.
The Democrats announced 29 June that they won 36 of the legislature’s 76 seats. While the Mongolian election commission has confirmed the party won more votes than anyone else, they have yet to release the official results. The election commission has ordered a revote in two districts. Analysts for Reuters, however, put the number of seats going to the Democrats lower – at 31, with 28 seats going to the People’s Party.
While no party in the election won the 39 seats necessary to capture a majority in the parliament, experts say the two parties are separately starting the process of putting together a new coalition to take charge of the country’s rapidly expanding economy, according to Bloomberg.
Previously, the two parties formed an uneasy coalition led by Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, leader of the People’s Party, until it broke down in January. Another alliance, the “justice coalition,” came away with 11 seats in the recent elections making it a potential coalition partner in a new government, Reuters reports. The justice coalition is led by the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party head and former president Nambar Enkhbayar.
Enkhbayar was not allowed to participate in the elections as he faces charges of graft.
The European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina has ended after 10 years of activity, Deutsche Welle reports. Initially formed as a replacement for a UN mission, EUPM had an initial mandate of three years and was responsible for the training of the Bosnian police and its transformation into a multi-ethnic force that could meet international standards, a difficult task that ran into many obstacles erected by Bosnia’s feuding constituencies.
The decision to close down the mission was taken in June 2011, and, according to the European Voice, was a compromise between France and Germany, which wanted to close the mission by the end of 2011, and Britain, which wanted to prolong its activities until the end of 2012.
Bulgarian police have arrested four men in connection with a bomb blast last week outside the offices of a Roma-focused political party, Novinite reports.
The large, early-morning blast on 29 June critically injured a Romani man – an activist for the Euroroma party who had recently competed in local elections – when he picked up a package outside party headquarters in the southwestern town of Sandanski. Party officials immediately said they believed the attack might be politically and racially motivated.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said 1 July the suspects' hands and clothes had shown traces of the same explosives used in the attack. He denied any political connection, though news reports did not specify whether he also discounted racial motives. Two of the suspects were allegedly involved in an April incident when a bomb was thrown in the local Romani quarter.
Major, ethnically laden unrest took place in September in southern Bulgaria over the involvement of a powerful local Romani clan in the killing of a young man.
Starting 1 July, the cost of parking fines in Moscow has soared from 300 rubles (around $9) to 3,000 rubles. Police hope to clear out the city’s infamously clogged roads and pavements and reduce traffic jams caused by double parking, Reuters reports.
According to statistics cited by the website Russia Beyond the Headlines, 35 percent of drivers in Moscow’s Central District regularly park illegally. The head of the Moscow city transport department told the site there is no room on the streets to add to the city’s 240,000 legal parking spaces.
The police have also increased the number of traffic cameras in hopes of catching more dangerous drivers and boosted the frequency of parking patrols, The Moscow News writes.