Trial of Parnership: Accusation can’t bring witnesses to court

2006 2006-08-01T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 1 August the trial of four activists of the public association Partnerhip continued at Tsentralny borough court of Minsk. Today the accusation’s witnesses have been interrogated. The majority of them, mainly former members of Partnership, didn’t come to the trial. ?#152;I think they don’t want to confirm the testimonies they have given to the investigation for some reasons’, commented the father of one of the accused persons Valery Dranchuk. According to him, the judge demanded to forcibly take the witnesses to the court.

As it is already known, the trial is closed. No journalists, foreign diplomats and relatives are admitted to it. The defence lawyers can’t tell anything as well, because they have signed the undertaking not to give publicity to the case-related information.

The police have pushed all relatives and journalists away from the porch, because the windows of the court hall face the entrance. Among those who came to the trial there were the head of the OSCE mission in Belarus Ake Peterson and the acting Ambassador of the US in Belarus Jonathan Moore.

According to Valery Dranchuk, today the relatives have finally managed to see the accused. The police used to lead out through the back door during the previous court sittings. This time they were lead out through the front door. ?#152;They looked tired, but kept bravely. We welcomed them with applause’, said Valery Dranchuk.

We should remind that four activists of Partnership, M.Astreika, E.Branitskaia, Ts.Dranchuk and A.Shalaika were detained on 21 February and have been kept in custody ever since. They are accused of the establishment and management of the institution that attempted on the personality, rights and commitments of citizens and didn’t possess the state registration. The accusation article provides up to 6 months of arrest or 3 years of jail. Human rights activists and international organizations call this trial politically motivated.