Mikalai Autukhovich not allowed to work as taxi driver

2008 2008-10-22T12:16:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich, who was substituted imprisonment by restraint of liberty at home, wasn’t allowed to work as a taxi driver.

Mikalai Autukhovich works as a driver in Vaukavysk, where he lives. He is under surveillance of militia, and the term of punishment ends only next summer. He used to have more that twenty taxi cars, but when Autukhovich didn’t agree to open a firm, the court considered it to be a violation and tax evasion.

Mikalai Autukhovich is regulary checked by police. He works in Nika-Taxi 22222 firm, consisting of 13 cars. Taxi cabs, owned by Autukhovich, were seized, but some were left for his wife Alena.

“I am considered a driver. I wasn’t allowed to work as a taxi driver, because I am serving a term of punishment and must be at home after 7.00 pm. I am not allowed to leave Vaukavysk anyway. At weekends – Saturday and Sunday, on holidays, I am forbidden to go out,” Mikola Autokhovich told RFE/RL.

Last May, Mikola Autokhovich hoped that he would be released on parole. But a report on hooliganism was drawn up against him. Though the court found this case insignificant, documents for early release weren’t prepared.

While Autukhovich was in prison and his cars – under arrest, new taxi services appeared in Vaukavysk. Autukhovich cared about level of service, now everyone tries to respond this level.

“New firms have appeared during the time he was struggling. We should give proper respect to him, because he roused business here. New firms wouldn’t have opened if it hadn’t been for Autukhovich. He runs his business well, everything was organised in due way, dispatcher service was good,” a Vaukavysk dweller says.

Mikola Autukhovich’s daughter Katsiaryna graduated from school this year, her grade point average is almost ten. However, she failed to enter university in Poland in the frames of Kalinouski education programme.

“She was deceived. She passed all tests, went to consulate, had an interview, but then was said she was under 18,” Mikola Autokhovich explains.

It was too late to apply for Belarusian universities, and Katsiaryna stays at home.

“I want to send her to Poland for preparatory training. I will do my best. She has a visa, and I think the things will clear out within a week. But it is difficult, every door I am knocking is closed,” the girl’s father said.

Mikola Autokhovich was sentenced to three and a half years in 2006. He was found guilty in large scale tax evasion and running business without a registration and a license. The entrepreneurs spent nearly 2 years in prison. He was on a hunger strike during the investigation and the trial. He gained home arrest in Vaukavysk instead of keeping in remand jail during the court process. But he escaped ahead of the trial and after two months was found in Minsk, where he was hiding.