“Doctors’ case” will complicate Belarusian experts’ participation in international exchange programs
The Belarus’ General Prosecutor’s Office carries out large-scale inspection of leading medical care staff on corruption suspicions, Narodnaya Volya newspaper reports.
The pressure on the Belarusian doctors will complicate the development of international expert dialogue and exchange programmes in Belarus. Simultaneously, the Belarusian security forces demonstrate a high interest in international cooperation issues.
The newspaper reports, that since early 2013 more than 150 medical healthcare experts, including eminent physicians, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office. The investigation is based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s inquiry materials and refers to the facts of malicious cooperation between state healthcare employees and foreign pharmaceutical companies in public procurement.
In particular, the prosecutor’s office is interested in Belarusian medical specialists’ participation in international seminars and conferences organized with the support of major pharmaceutical corporations. The information about launched criminal cases has not yet been disclosed and the General Prosecutor’s Office refused to comment on the inspection.
On the one hand, whether criminal cases are launched or not, the ongoing inspection will objectively reduce the opportunities for development of international exchange programmes for specialists and government officials in Belarus. In particular, professional exchange programmes making a part of the Eastern Partnership Programme and the “European Dialogue on modernization with Belarusian civil society” and affecting energy, public administration, privatization, and other spheres.
On the other hand, the Prosecutor General’s Office checks, based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s materials, confirm the Belarusian law enforcement agencies’ interest in international cooperation. In particular, On May 20th-24th Minsk hosted a meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and the international association of financial intelligence services ‘Egmont’.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.