American lawyer Emanuel Zeltser is kept in Belarusian jail without medicines and warm clothes

2008 2008-11-05T19:56:15+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Today the US citizen Emanuel Zeltser and his secretary Vladlena Funk, a Russian citizen, were transferred from the KGB remand prison into the remand prison #1 of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of Minsk City Executive Committee in Valadarski Street in Minsk.

As said by the lawyer Zmitser Harachka, the state of health of Emanuel Zeltser is still grave. ‘He does not have medicines. Besides, I haven’t managed to give warm clothes to him,’ he said.

On 11 August 2008 E.Zeltser was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment in standard regime penal colony by Minsk city court for attempted industrial espionage and the use of fake documents.Vladlena Funk, got one year in prison. Both of them pleaded innocent.

Emanuel Zeltser, the US citizen who had been convicted in Belarus, is not given the copy of the verdict of the court, which makes it impossible for him to take an appeal from it. In fact, Zeltser has been denied the right of defense.

Last Friday the Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the verdict after studying the appeal against the verdict.

Emanuel Zeltser and Vladlena Funk were detained at the National Airport Minsk on 12 March. The trial was closed and lasted since 30 July till 11 August.

The US citizen is also accused of drug smuggling but this accusation was lifted as the court regarded the drugs to be medicaments that Zeltser has been using for the last 15 years.

The US has demanded Mr Zeltser's release on humanitarian grounds, saying that his health may suffer irreversibly and that he may die since he couldn’t take the prescribed medicines while arrested. In August the US Embassy send all necessary drugs to Belarus, but they haven’t been given to E.Zeltser. Meanwhile, due medical care for Zeltser has been named one of the key conditions for normalization of American-Belarusian relations.

US law firm Patton Boggs has urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reject Belarus’ request for a $2-billion loan unless American lawyer Emanuel Zeltser is released from prison. Freedom House, an international human rights watchdog, has sent a similar petition to the IMF.