Arrested leaders of market vendors denied defence

2009 2009-02-25T18:44:13+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Family members of the political prisoners Yury Lyavonau, Mikalay Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka have been denied a right to act as defence lawyers of the arrested businessmen.

As the press-centre of the Charter’97 has been informed by the Belarusian lawyer Aleh Vouchak, investigator prohibited close relatives of the leaders of entrepreneurs represent their interests as lawyers.

“Alena Autukhovich, Yuliya Lyavonava and Liudmila Asipenka have addressed the investigator Kukharchyk in connection with the fact that false information started to appear in mass media about involvement of the arrested businessmen to some “armed organised grouping”. Some publications stated that during the search firearms and explosives were found in their flats. However, these objects haven’t been recorded in the documents,” the lawyer said.

As said by Aleh Vouchak, in connection with “the flow of lies and provocative information” families decided to act as defence of the arrested.

“They had enough grounds for that: the Article 22 of the Code of penal procedure and Article 62 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. But investigator Kukharchyk referred to the same Article 44 of the Code of penal procedure and denied them that right. It could be said that he went beyond his powers. The investigator said that close relatives have a right to defend only in the court. However, it is his personal treatment of the Article 44. This article does not cancel the right of relatives to act as defence lawyers of the accused at the preliminary stage of the investigation”.

The human rights activist informs that relatives of the arrested businessmen will challenge the ruling of the investigator in Hrodna prosecutor’s office. The reason for complaint to the prosecutor’s office is violation of the right of relatives to act as defenders of the accused.

It should be noted that from the moment of arrest of Autukhovich, Lyavonau and Asipenka their close relatives haven’t seen them at all. The investigator of the “case” many times ignored petitions of their wives and children for a meeting with the arrested who are kept in Minsk remand prison. Lawyers have given a pledge not to reveal details of the case, so families are in fact deprived of any information about their loved ones.

On February 8, leaders of entrepreneurs Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were arrested in Vaukavysk.

On February 18, they were accused of arson of a house of former head of the Vaukavysk militia department. It is remarkable that the arson took place in 2005, and the guilty persons are serving punishment. The arrested businessmen face up to 12 years of imprisonment.

On Sunday February 15, Yukry Lyavomau was taken to Republican Prison Hospital in Kalvaryiskaya Street 36, with a diagnosis “stones in kidneys”.

It should be reminded that Yury Lyavonau and Mikalai Autukhovich are former political prisoners, sentenced to imprisonment on a far-fetched accusation for protection of the rights of entrepreneurs. In the beginning of 2008, a measure of punishment was changed for them to restriction of liberty. On February 10, 2009 a hearing on early conditional release of Mikalai Autukhovich was to take place in Vaukavysk.