General Prosecutor’s Office Renews Criminal Case against Iryna Khalip
According to the press service of “Charter-97”, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus abolished the ruling to suspend the criminal cases against the vice-editor of “Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta” Iryna Khalip, initiated for the article “Afghan Greyhounds”, published 1,5 years ago in the “BDG” annex “Dlia Sluzhebnogo Polzovaniya”. In this article I. Khalip developed on the circumstances of the criminal case against the ex-head of “Beldziarzhkharchpram” president Viktar Kazeka and his son, ex-head of the sale department of “Kryshtal” factory Andrey Kazeka, imprisoned for bribery and thefts of state property. Iryna Khalip is charged with libeling Prosecutor General Viktar Sheyman (part 2 of article 188 of the Criminal Code of Belarus). The case is investigated by Viktar Feshchanka, investigator on the especially important cases of Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office.
The ruling to suspend the case was abolished last year. Iryna Khalip is of the opinion that the prosecutor’s office waited for the sentence to the figurants of her article Viktar and Andrey Kazeka. In more than half a year the General Prosecutor’s Office reopened the case and directed it for investigation to Minsk City Prosecutor’s Office. According to Iryna Khalip’s information, the prosecutor’s office is going to pass the case to court. In this case she can be punished with up to two years of corrective labor, up to two years of personal restraint or 3 years of jail.
On 26 February the journalist was interrogated. According to the journalist, investigators asked her very tendentious questions and her case consisted of two volumes.
In her interview to the press-center of “Charter-97” Iryna Khalip thusly commented on the reopening of the criminal case against her: “There are several versions of what has happened. It can be personal revenge of workers of the prosecutor’s office. I managed to find evidence that Viktar Sheyman was a shield for the illegal trade of alcoholic beverages. This may also be revenge for my articles in the Russian “Novaya Gazeta”. Belarusian prosecutor’s have no means to influence Russian press, that’s why they decided to pressurize me, using the old “BDG” article. This can be connected with my regular visits to PACE sessions as well. In autumn 2003 workers of the Security Soviet asked Piatro Martsaw where I took money from for my journeys to Strasburg. In October I was asked the same question by workers of General Prosecutor’s Office. It’s also known that officials of Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tried to influence the PACE press service so that they wouldn’t invite me to the sittings any more.”