Kanstantsin Lukashou Sentenced to Two-Year Conditional Sentence. He Is to Pay Moral Damage of 500 USD to Policeman

2007 2007-02-19T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Today, on February 20, at 10 a.m. Leninski court judge Z. Krasouskaya announced a verdict on criminal charges against Kanstantsin Lukashou, the brother of opposition member Viachaslau Siuchyk. Sever4al dozen people – family, friends, and representatives of the civic community, human rights defenders, and journalists -- came to the court room to support the innocent person.

Kanstantsin Lukashou is found guilty under Article 364 of the Criminal Code – violence or threat of violence towards a policeman. He is sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment with execution of a sentence suspended for two years (a conditional sentence). Also Lukashou is to pay police officer Sushchenia 1 million BYR (about 500 USD) of moral damage and pay the legal costs.

Viachaslau Siuchyk commented the verdict for the Human Rights Center “Viasna”: “Unfortunately, Leninski court demonstrated that dependence of courts in Belarus is an objective reality. There is simply no division of power in authoritarian regimes. Certainly, I am happy that today an innocent person – my brother – was set free. But I think this is very dangerous for the Belarusian society when the rights are violated so easily, when the Belarusian laws are trampled down”.

Right after he had been arrested, Lukashou hoped the charges would be dropped or the penalty would be minimal:

“In the beginning I had a feeling that because they detained me illegally, they would release me quietly. If not for the coverage by independent media that would probably happen: they would probably simply keep me in detention till the local elections and let me go. May be…

I would like thank the human rights activists and all citizens who supported me. This is the main thing. It’s really great that we have such organizations and people who do not leave a person alone in such a difficult time. I felt support from everywhere: from my family and friends, from many people – and I really needed it.

As for the verdict, I realize the judge had no other way out. That is why I understand her… Still she’ll have to bear responsibility for that in the future, because making verdicts on the order from the executive authorities, under the “telephone law”, as we say, is not good. As for appealing against the verdict, I realize it has little sense in our country. But I think we should go through the procedure till the very end”.

Tsimafei Dranchuk, activist of Partnership initiative attended Lukashou’s trial. He considers the case a continuation of the political pressure campaign organized by the authorities against civic activists: “Certainly, it is silly to greet such a verdict because the person is innocent. Still, I am very happy that Kanstantsin is released, that he can hug his family. Recently I had the same experience when after 10 months in jail I was released, although I was sentenced absolutely for nothing”.

Kanstantsin Lukashou, member of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, was detained on December 19, on the day when his mother turned 65. According to the investigator, the ground for the arrest was the fact that he allegedly failed to attend interrogation sessions. For two months Lukashou was illegally kept at Valadarka pre-trial detention center. Accusation of overriding a police officer goes back to the events on March 29, 2006. That day Kanstantsin Lukashou picked up his brother Viachaslau Siuchyk from hospital, who the police was to arrest for participation in the protest tent city on Kastrycnhitskaya Square. Unknown people in civil clothes tried to stop the car, but Viachaslau Siuchyk, thanks to his brother, managed to avoid detention.