The businessman Mikalai Autukhovich from Vaukavysk went on hunger-strike behind the bars of an investigation center in Hrodna.
Radio Liberty learned about this fact after the groceries brought by the farther of Mikalai Autukhovich and his lawyer Andrei Katsiuk were returned because the businessman had denied food.
Andrei Kastiuk said that he and the businessman’s farther could hand over only clothes to the arrested man. Sausage, cookies, and other food were not accepted with explanation that the businessman had declared a hunger-strike. A TV-set was not allowed either because the prisoner would not get it until he stops the hunger-strike.
Mikalai Autukhovich expresses his protest in connection with the fact that a criminal case was initiated against him; he was charged, immediately arrested, and warned that he would stay in the investigation center, where he has been kept for four days, until the litigation. It has been the third hunger-strike of the businessman for this year.
Autukhovich is accused according to the second part of Article 243 of the Criminal Code of tax avoidance that resulted in large scale damages to the budget. This article presupposes conviction for three to seven years with or without the confiscation of property.
Mikalai Autukhovich has been on hunger-strike for three times for two years. Because taxi drivers supported him twice, the actions were large-scale. The first hunger-strike took place in October 2003, the second one took place this spring, and the last hunger-strike took place at the end of September. The businessman protested against fine sanctions imposed by the taxation committee, and two years ago he protested against the arrest of his taxi cars. Mr. Autukhovich also appealed to courts for the cancellation of the fines that have reached about one million dollars. At the end of September, Presidium of the Supreme Economic Court ruled that the case of the businessman should be subjected to the second trial and the businessman stopped his hunger-strike. But, a criminal case is initiated against the businessman now.