MINSK, Belarus (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Maidan International welcomes Central European newspapers’ solidarity with Belarusian civic activists. Central European newspapers line up with Belarusian cartoonists to show solidarity with the people, who were, and still are, abused by the brutal regime of Belarus’ president Aleksander Lukashenko.

On February 27, 2006, four leading Central European newspapers, including Slovak daily SME, Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, Czech Lidove Noviny and Hungarian Magyar Hirlap, each printed cartoons on Lukashenko. In addition, the four newspapers, together with the Belarusian “Third Way” Internet community, appealed to Europe’s mainstream print media to commission and print similar cartoons on Lukashenko, “the last dictator of Europe,” in advance of the Presidential Elections in Belarus scheduled for March 19, 2006. Maidan International, a pro-democracy non-profit organization, also welcomed the common stance of media and Belarusian civic activists.

*(Illustration Caption: So he feeds the country. Cartoon by Martin SHOOTY Sutovec.)

“This international effort will provide a unique possibility to express solidarity with the isolated Belarusians and let them see what European cartoonists think about their regime,” said editors-in-chief of those four Central European leading newspapers in their common appeal posted on the website www.svoboden.org .

“Let’s make it clear: dictators have no place in Europe,” said Mr. Martin SHOOTY Sutovec, the Slovak author of several Lukashenko cartoons: “The Danish case uncovered the power of cartoons. This is the time to use it for something meaningful.”

In 2005, civic activists from Belarus published flash cartoons on their website (www.3dway.org). The cartoons were about life in Belarus, electoral fraud, Belarus’ isolation, and Lukashenkos notorious preoccupation with sports. The activists may face up to five years in prison for publishing the cartoons.

In addition to harassing political opponents, civic activists, and Christians, the government of Belarus and its KGB criminally persecute those “offending the honor of Lukashenko.” The Belarusian regime is tightening the grip on any form of dissent before the crucial presidential elections scheduled for March 19, 2006. The new legislation can put the dissent behind bars for any expression of alternative opinion.

Maidan International ), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, calls world’s print media to publish cartoons on Lukashenko, “the last dictator of Europe.” For new cartoon images, please visit http://www.svoboden.org or email info@svoboden.org

Maidan International, 104 University Village, Apt G, Ames, IA 50010 USA

News issued by: Maidan International

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Original Story ID: (1405) :: 2006-03-0309-003

Original Keywords: Maidan International, political cartoons, Martin SHOOTY Sutovec, Central European newspapers, Belarusian civic activists, non-profit, 501(c)3, Aleksander Lukashenko, pro-democracy non-profit organization Maidan International

News Source: Maidan International