Vitsebsk oblast chamber of judges abolishes sentence to Nikolai Kostyshev
As the organization committee for the establishment of the Belarusian committee for protection of the prisoners’ rights Over the Barrier learned from the relatives of the Russian citizen Nikolai Kostyshev, the ruling to abolish the sentence to him had been issued on 29 April 2008, but the relatives found about it only on 9 June, from the prisoner’s letter.
Nikolai wrote that on 29 April the administration of penal colony #1 officially informed him that the verdict, issued to him by the court of the town and district of Orsha on 6 July 2006, was reversed by Vitsebsk oblast judges’ chamber on personal order of the chairman of the Supreme Court Sukala. The court was returned to Orsha court for review.
The prisoner was also informed that in the beginning of June he would be transferred to the pre-trial prison in Vitsebsk, where he would wait for appointment of the trial.
As the organizing committee learned, the trial was appointed on 18 June 2008 and will take place in Savetskaya Street 5, Orsha.
The organizing committee for the establishment of BCPPR Over the Barrier calls human rights organizations and journalists to support Nikolai Kostyshev and take part in the court sitting. The public attention to this criminal process will not let the authorities again violate the prisoner’s right and issue an unfair verdict.
Bear in mind that since 22 January 2006 Kostyshev has been kept in corrective colony #1 in Vitsebsk. The sentence to him was issued in absentia, by the court of Orsha town and district. The court explained the trial in absence of the accused by his hiding, though all this time Mr. Kostyshev was living in Belarus, in the place where he was officially registered. During the investigation he came to all interrogations on the first demand of the investigator.
Kostyshev was detained six months after the verdict was issued. In 2007 Mr. Kostyshev thrice went on hunger-strike, asking to abolish the illegal verdict to him. Each of his hunger-strikes lasted for more than a month. He also many times addressed the Supreme Court demanding that his case be reviewed.