Harry Pahaniaila: ‘Verdict to Yana Paliakova was issued unlawfully’
Only today, on 11 March Neanila Paliakova finally managed to receive a copy of the court verdict that had been issued to her daughter Yana Paliakova by Salihorsk district court on 3 March. Even a brief familiarization with the documents lets human rights defenders state about gross law violations during the trial of Yana Paliakova.
Neanila Paliakova reminded that the judge Alexander Burakou proposed Yana to come for getting a copy of the verdict on 6 March, three days after the trial. Yana Paliakova did not come to the court. In the night of 6-7 March she hanged herself in her apartment. Having buried her daughter, on 10 March Neanila Paliakova went to the court to receive a copy of the verdict, but was told that the document was not ready. The woman recollects how she went to the court together with the human rights defenders from the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Leanid Markhotka and Harry Pahaniaila in order to get the document:
‘We struggled for it for half a day. There was almost a fight. The judge Burautsou escaped from us and we were told that he was leading a trial. We complained to the vice-chair of the court and she ordered that he was summoned from there. Finally we were given a copy of the verdict. Now we study it.’
Former judge, well-known human rights defender Harry Pahaniaila does not rule out that the document was not issued immediately after the death of Yana Paliakova, because the verdict could be corrected.
Having familiarized with the verdict, Hary Pahaniaila made the following comment to RFE/RL: ‘I learned that on the last day of the trial the state accuser laid a more serious accusation against Yana Paliakova. As a result the court was to have given her time for preparation to defense and stop the hearings for at least five days. She could have invited a professional lawyer in this case. However, the court didn’t make it and issued the verdict. It is a gross violation of the criminal process law. Now this fact is our main argument witnessing that the verdict to Yana Paliakova was issued unlawfully.’
As said by Harry Pahaniaila, at first Yana Paliakova was judged under Article 400, part 1 of the Criminal Code and the minimal penalty was fine. Later the charges were changed to Article 400, part 2, and the minimal penalty became personal restraint for up to five years, as the defendant was accused in a major crime. The charges were changed the same day the verdict was issued, on 3 March. After it Yana Paliakova told her acquaintances that he would not be a prisoner. Three days later she hanged herself.
Harry Pahaniaila has addressed the prosecutor of Salihorsk on behalf of BHC with the request to appeal against the verdict to Yana Paliakova. He says that neither he, nor other human rights activists are admitted to participation in hearings on the criminal case against her. Soon the lawyer Maryiana Siameshka will start dealing with this case. On 13 March she intends to lodge the cassation appeal against the verdict.
The judge Alexander Burautsou who issued the verdict to Yana Paliakova refused from making any comments.
The head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zhana Litvina made an official statement in which she called the insulting article about Yana Litvina that appeared in the largest state newspaper Sovetskaya Belorussiya the day before her suicide and could influence her mood, a manifestation of haunting.
‘The state media seemed to be abstaining from dissemination of compromising evidence and discredit of political opponents. Pitifully enough, such hopes were ruined by that article in Sovetskaya Belorussiya. It is a shame for the whole journalist community,’ stated Zhana Litvina.
The article about Yana Paliakova disappeared from the website of Sovetskaya Belorussiya on 9 March.