Oppositional activist, Deputy of Supreme Soviet of the 13th Convocation Andrei Klimau Sentenced to 2 years of High Security Prison for Web Publication
The prosecutor’s office and Tsentralny district court of Mink confirmed to the journalist Andrei Hruzdzilovich the information about the trial over Klimau. The trial started on 30 July 2007 and ended two days later, on 1 August. The verdict was issued by the judge Alena Iliina. Klimau’s wife, Tatsiana Leanovich-Klimava, was to take part in the trial as the public defender.
The oppositional leader, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the 13th Convocation Andrei Klimau was arrested on 3 April 2007 for an article of 25 January 2007 that was published by the web-site of the United Civil Party. A criminal case under part 3 of article 361 of the Criminal Code ‘Public calls to seizure of the state power or forced change of the state order of the Republic of Belarus committed with the use of mass media’. During the investigation Andrei Klimau was kept in an investigative isolator and suffered there a heart attack.
On 10 September a lawyer Valiantsina Liatun informed RFE/RL that the trial over Andrei Klimau was closed and refused to answer any further questions. Tatsiana Leanovich-Klimava does not answer telephone calls and does not give any information about the trial. At Tsentralny district court of Minsk the journalists managed to find that the politician had been sentenced to 2 years of high security prison.
The verdict to Andrei Klimau has not come into force yet. According to the information of Minsk city court, Klimau’s defense has filed a preliminary complaint and familiarizes with the minutes of the trial.
Earlier Klimau, an active opponent of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, spent 4 years in jail for alleged economic crimes and was sentenced to 15 months of corrective labor for organization of street actions of protest on Freedom Day, 25 March 2005. Andrei Klimau has a wife and two children.
The publication by Andrei Klimau, dated 25 January 2007 did not call to seizure of the state power or forced change of the state order of the Republic of Belarus. It was a polemical article on political issues that expressed the author’s position and presented an analysis of the present political situation in Belarus and the variants of its development. Klimau’s arrest must be associated with his intense political activity first of all.
Bear in mind, that Belarus already has precedents of politically motivated verdicts to journalists and public activists for their publications in mass media.
The politically motivated verdict to Andrei Klimau causes a grave concern of the Belarusian public circles. It violates article 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Amnesty International and Belarusian human rights activists consider Andrei Klimau a prisoner of conscience.