People injured during the protests may never see their cases of violence considered in court; repressions in Belarus are intensifying; the Unified Crime Registry has published a new list of names and facts of crimes against civilians
20 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Updated Criminal Procedure Code – individuals injured during the protests may not see their cases investigated
Lawyers Siarhei Zikratski and Mikhail Badnarchuk studied the updated Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and noticed that the allowed length of a preliminary investigation had been changed. According to the previous version of the code, the maximum time period of a preliminary investigation was six months. Therefore, following the results of a six-month investigation, the victims hoped to receive either a decision to initiate a case or a refusal in response to their claims. Now, the new Criminal Procedure Code provides for the possibility to suspend the preliminary case inspection for a period exceeding three months, while the maximum period has not been set. Thus, the investigating authorities will be able to suspend the preliminary investigation in any criminal case indefinitely. Most of the changes to the CPC will come into effect in April 2021. The right to suspend the investigation for a period of more than three months has been granted to the investigative authorities immediately after the official publication of the law on 14 January 2021. This means that individuals injured during the peaceful rallies on 9 through 12 August may not be able to see their complaints considered in court. Lawyers also believe that it is important to note that in the opinion of the law enforcement agencies, the applicants are not entitled to familiarize themselves with the details of their preliminary investigation before its completion. That is the very reason the mother of Raman Bandarenka and her lawyer have not yet been able to get familiar with the details of the investigation. Meanwhile, some of the victims have already received responses from the Investigative Committee with a refusal to initiate a criminal case. In particular, recently such a refusal was received by a woman whose leg has been broken by riot police. In November, the Investigative Committee refused to initiate a criminal case of a business analyst, Yury Kryvashei.
The Belarusian court continues to act as an instrument of repression. There is no longer a question of logic and legality
The Maskouski district court of Minsk sentenced a 20-year-old student, Uladzimir Khamichkou, accused of resisting eight riot police officers and actively participating in group actions that grossly violate public order. The events took place on the evening of 14 July 2020 in Minsk. Uladzimir was sentenced to 4 years in a penal colony and a fine of about 6,000 rubles (2,000 EUR). He refused to plead guilty and said that on that day he was walking around and went into a café to buy some ice cream. There, he was restrained by force. In the video presented at the court the face of the restrained person is not visible.
In Hrodna, the court fined Lyubou Sarlai 580 Belarusian rubles (200 EUR) for wearing trousers with white and red stripes while out to get a cup of coffee. She was accused of violating the procedure for holding mass events (Article 23.34 of the Administrative Code).
The Hrodna court is considering the “Tsikhanouski case”. The first individuals detained during the picket in May 2020 are on trial. According to the investigation, Siarhei Tsikhanouski and Dzmitry Furmanau had planned in advance an illegal rally disguising it as a picket to collect signatures using a loophole that no permission from local authorities was required.
An activist from Biarozauka, Vitald Ashurok, was sentenced to five years in a general regime colony for participating in group actions that grossly violate public order and for violence against a policeman. To date, this has been the longest prison sentence received for participating in the summer 2020 protests.
Today, next to the courthouse in Lida, 8 people were detained. They came to support Ivan Kaspiarovich, an electrician, who ran the Telegram channel “People’s Tribunal in Lida”. All came to support Ivan. According to Belsat, today’s arrests are related to the situation that happened on 18 January during the trial of Vitald Ashurok who had been sentenced to five years in prison. After the latter’s verdict was pronounced, people in the courtroom began to chant “Shame!” and “We believe! We can! We’ll win!” Preliminarily, a criminal case has been initiated due to this fact which is the reason for today’s arrests.
The court considered the case of businessman Valery Astrynski, who was detained for a white-red-white flag at his farmhouse. He was given the fine of 20 basic units (180 EUR).
The Belarusian Muay Thai champion, Anastasiya Kalashnikava, was fined 870 rubles (270 EUR) by the court. She was detained on 17 January. The girl is not only an athlete but also an ambulance paramedic.
59-year-old Iryna Paulovich had her arm broken during her arrest and was fined 1,450 rubles (450 EUR). The woman was detained on 16 January. She was knocked down and then pinned to the ground by a police officer’s foot. But instead, she was punished for disobeying the police: an anonymous witness who works for the police claimed in court that Iryna had refused to get into the police car, opened her arms and clung to a policeman’s uniform.
A Dziarzhynsk resident, Vital Buinouski, who has hung a Japanese flag at his home, is accused of holding an unauthorized picket.
Minsk resident, Viktar Maroz, was sentenced to 14 days of detention. On the evening of 5 January, he stood up for a neighbor who was being detained by unknown individuals. As it turned out later, they were security officials. Maroz was also detained. And later he ended up in the emergency room with injuries.
An entrepreneur and oppositionist, Zmitser Dashkevich, received 15 days of arrest. The activist was tried for participating in an unauthorized mass event. He stood holding a white-red-white flag at the entrance of a restaurant built near the Kurapaty memorial where tens of thousands of people had been shot in the 1930s.
The Viasna Human Rights Centre announced the arrest of a human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka. In early January 2021, Leanid’s house was searched, and his bank cards and a laptop were confiscated.
This is just a small part of the arrests and trials that take place in Belarus every day on far-fetched and most absurd charges.
The Unified Crime Registry has published a new list of crimes
The Telegram channel of the Unified Crime Registry announced a new list of cases created with the help of investigators, lawyers, and prosecutors on the basis of allegations of the use of illegal actions against civilians by representatives of power structures.
The names of the defendants against whom the evidence has been received are disclosed. But there has been no confession or refutation of the crime committed. Among them are the representatives of law enforcement agencies, judges, and members of election commissions. This new data will be handed over to independent organizations lobbying for the expansion of the sanctions lists and will also go to the Court of Universal Jurisdiction of Lithuania. After the change of power in the country, all this information will be used by the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus.
Meanwhile, the platform continues to work on new and previously submitted applications. At the moment there are more than a thousand of them. Among 676 accepted and filtered applications:
- 182 crimes against the Rights of Citizens;
- 232 cases of torture and violence;
- 9 murders;
- 232 cases of abuse of office;
- 30 other cases.
All incoming information is checked and systematized by experts in accordance with the law. The next publication of the investigative materials is scheduled for 20 February.
For more information on the events of 20 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: