Case against Siarhey Antonchyk Can Become Court Precedent
Siarhey Antonchyk, former deputy and the author of a report about corruption among the top-level state officials and about twenty regional activists were detained at a private flat in Kuybyshaw Street in Minsk on 5 February. They were taken to the police. In three hours all detainees except Antonchyk were let go. The police drew a report for organization of unauthorized assembly against Antonchyk.
On 7 February the first court sitting on this unprecedented case took place. After the defendant solicited for interrogation of several witnesses, the trial was postponed to 14 February. However, on 14 February the verdict wasn’t issued either. Judge Aksana Reliava only read aloud the testimonies and the police report, according to which Siarhey Antonchyk violated the law by organization of an unauthorized assembly and then declared a break till 21 February.
In his interview to RFE/RL Siarhey Antonchyk called this trial unprecedented:
-- If the court decides to punish me, no matter what the punishment would be, it would become a court precedent for Belarus. After it, when people will gather for weddings or funerals, the law machinery will have the possibility to detain and punish them. It means the regime is afraid. They see the ghost of “orange revolution” behind every back.
During the trial Siarhey Antonchyk stated he had complained to the prosecutor’s office against the lawless detention. It could be one of the reasons why the judge decided to delay the trial.