Political Prisoner Artur Finkevich Released from Custody
Hearing of the cassation appeal on the criminal case against Artur Finkevich, political prisoner and one of the Young Front leaders, has taken place today in the has reversed the judgement of the court of Kastrychnitski district of Mahiliou on 1.5-year imprisonment.
Representative of the US Embassy to Minsk Louis Crishock, politician Viachaslau Siwchyk and some tens of A.Finkevich’s friends were present at the hearing. Four policemen in civvies were also present in the court room.
Prosecutor Karankou demanded 6 months and 20 days of imprisonment for Artur. The political prisoner has spent in prison 3 months after the term of his serving at correctional prison facility expired.
Considering the fact that a prison term is counted as double corrective labor term, the judgeship of the Mahiliou oblast court reversed the decision of the court of Kastrychnitski district on 1.5-year imprisonment.
Politician Pavel Seviarynets commented on the details of Artur Finkevich’s release and initiating cases against other democratic activists to the Charter’97 press center. In his view, ‘we are dealing with a special repressive policy of the authorities, when famous to the West political prisoners will be released, to give the authorities a possibility to bargain with the EU, but repressions against other little-known people will continue on a larger scale.’
As an example Pavel Seviarynets reminded a criminal case against Andrei Kim, activist of the campaign Initiative, who was brought an official charge yesterday, and other repressions against the youth and entrepreneurs.
‘The authorities are pretending to conduct ‘thaw’ policy, but repressions are strengthening: cases against a number of Young Front members and against entrepreneurs’ protests are initiated, students are expelled from universities for their opinions and public activity. It’s not a ‘thaw’, but just bargaining with the EU, not more,’ Seviarynets emphasized.
It should be reminded that political prisoner Artur Finkevich was serving the term of imprisonment for drawing political graffiti. 10 May 2006 the court of the Pershamaiski district of Minsk sentenced Artur Finkevich to 2 years at correctional prison facility. Since 29 June 2006 till 26 October 2007 Artur Finkevich served his term in Mahiliu special detention facility №43.
Then he was transferred to pre-trial detention center in Mahiliou. He was to be released in 1.5 months, but on 16 November he was charged on the article 415 of the Criminal Code of Belarus ‘evasion of serving punishment’ of alleged violation of discipline in the correctional prison facility.
Judge Natallia Krashkina of the Kastrychnitski district court of Mahiliou found the leader of the youth democratic movement guilty of criminal offence and sentenced him to 1.5 years of imprisonment in the minimum security colony.
Meanwhile, we remind that a criminal case on the article 364 (violent acts against a militiaman) was initiated against activist of the campaign Initiative Andrei Kim. The young man faces up to 6 years of imprisonment.
Former candidate for presidency Aliaksandr Kazulin and former deputy of the 13th Supreme Council Andrei Klimau are still in prisons. Will they be released in the nearest time?
Among 12 EU conditions, after fulfillment of which Europe is ready to cooperate with the official Minsk, the main ones are to release all political prisoners and stop persecution of the opposition, as well as hold free election.