Human rights activists issue statement on cases of Autukhovich, Liavonau and Asipenka
Statement on the cases of M.Autukhovich, Y.Liavonau and U.Asipenka
22 May 2009
Human rights activists are concerned about the violation of the rights of Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Liavonau and Uladzimer Asipenka, who are kept under arrest for their alleged involvement in the arson facts in Vaukavysk in 2004.
Human rights activists stress that the periods of the preliminary investigation are dragged out. The businessmen have been in a pre-trial detention center since February 2009. Since then the investigation has been repeatedly prolonged. Meanwhile, the investigators fail to carry out any investigative actions. Thus, the legality of their imprisonment seems absolutely groundless.
Human rights activists are concerned about the health status of Mikalai Autukhovich, which has seriously worsened due to the hunger-strike. The administration of the Republican Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior have repeatedly refused to accept parcels.
Considering these circumstances, human rights activists call upon the preliminary investigative officials to change their measure of restraint and release them.
Apart from that, we are deeply concerned about the fact that their lawyers are prohibited to disclose information on the progress of the investigation, including the human rights violations, which seriously restricts the possibilities of their defense. The case apparently has serious violations of the procedural rights of the accused, there are no actual legal grounds for their further imprisonment, which has resulted in a hunger-strike of protest.
Human rights activists would like to remind that the necessary level of transparency of the investigation and the openness of the trial are crucial guarantees of securing the rights of the accused, and demand that the law enforcement bodies and the court adhere to the democratic principles of the judiciary and the openness of the investigation, which has drawn a wide public response.
Aleh Hulak, head of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Hary Pahaniaila, head of the BHC’s legal committee
Ales Bialiatski, vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights
Valiantsin Stefanovich, human rights activist