Homel: tax inspection harasses Kastus Zhukouski
Today Tsentralny district court of Homel has started the trial on the suit of the district tax inspection for forced exaction of 2 115 000 rubles (about 993 US dollars) of taxes from the local activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party Kastus Zhukouski.
Kastus Zhukouski is 32 years old. He is married, has a daughter and works as a taxi driver. 14 March he was detained at the concert of NRM rock band for distribution postcards with congratulations and invitations to take part in the celebration of the jubilee of the Belarusian People’s Republic in Minsk. Later he was punished for it by a 10-day arrest and 700 000 rubles fine by the judge Maryna Damnenka.
However, all these measures are not enough for the local authorities. Recently Kastus has bought a burnt house and reconstructed it. The local tax inspection demanded from him to present information about the origin of the money he had bought the house for. In the income declaration Mr. Zhukouski wrote that it was a wedding gift from his Ukrainian relatives. Then an administrative case was brought against him for usage of foreign aid without registration at the Department of humanitarian activities. On 4 February Savetski district court of Homel fined him 1 750 000 rubles (about 822 US dollars) for it.
Now the tax inspection again demands 2 115 000 rubles of taxes from Zhukouski, because he allegedly could not buy a house for his wage. Leanid Sudalenka, human rights activist from Homel, thinks that the pretensions of the tax inspectors are wire-drawn. ‘For instance, they don’t take into consideration that Zhukouski worked for six years if Belnafta (Belarusian Oil) alliance, where the wages are quite good. It is difficult to say why they are doing it, but most probably it is connected to Zhukouski’s public activity,’ Sudalenka said.
At the trial Kastus solicited for interpreter’s services. As a result the trial was postponed to 4 June.