Mikalai Autukhovich: “Draw attention to egregious lawlessness in Belarus”
The text of the statement by the political prisoner on hunger strike has been sent to the Charter’97 press center.
Mikalai Autukhovich, the arrested businessman from Vaukavysk, has been on hunger strike in the pre-trial detection center of the militia department of the Minsk city executive committee since April 16. It should be reminded that businessmen Yury Lyavonau, Mikalai Autukovich, and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8. Their detention and search in their flats were authorized by the prosecutor of the Hrodna region. On February 18, the three businessmen were charged under article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional destruction or damage to property of citizens).
Human rights activists regard the detainees political prisoners drawing attention to the fact M. Autukhovich and Y. Lyavonau were thrown into prison earlier and recognized prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.
Being on hunger strike, Mikalai Autukhovich prepared a statement, which was passed to the Charter’97 press center by Belarusian human rights activists:
“I, Mikalai Autukhovich, have been staying in the pre-trial detention center for more than two months since February 8, 2009 on a charge of arson in 2005. Yury Lyavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka have been arrested together with on the same charge. The crime, were accused of, has already been investigated, people guilty are serving punishment, the damage was paid for. Our relatives met the victims and they said they hadn’t and had never had any claims to us.
We haven’t taken part in any investigatory actions for two and a half month in custody. If we did harm, why weren’t face-to-face identifications conducted with the victims and prosecution witnesses if there are any?
We heard rumours that the case is built not on proofs but on personal suppositions. Out friends are interrogated not in our case, but in case of possessing arms, preparing blasts in Hrodna, destruction of property). Some of witnesses are pressed psychologically to give false evidence against us. As far as I know, they are trying to accuse me of keeping a grenade launcher found in Vaukavysk and of committing unsolved crimes on the Hrodna region from 2005 to 2009, including the time I was in prison.
For the period from January 2008 to February 8, 2009, I was at home in Vaukavysk under surveillance of militia.
My relatives and I have been suffering from baiting since 2003. They are trying to throw me into prison for my public activity at the time when were have made our first steps to register the republican NGO of war veterans “Defenders of Motherland”.
Protesting against lawlessness and outrage f the investigatory bodies, absence of procuracy supervision of the investigation of my case, I had to take to the only legal protest measure in prison as I don’t find myself guilty.
Release me, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka.
I draw attention of the Belarusian and international community to egregious lawlessness in Belarus. This concerns not only our case. Human rights activist Yana Polyakova committed suicide, more than 900 people appealed the Belarusian authorities with a proposal to from an independent public commission for re-considering criminal and civil suits. These are not isolated cases. This is how the law enforcement system in Belarus works.
April 16, 2009