Zeltser still in prison. Authorities dragging out his amnesty

2009 2009-05-27T17:52:56+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Belarusian courts say they don’t have claims to American national Emanuel Zeltser serving a term in a Belarusian prison.

A notice from the Belarusian court has been sent to the penal colony this week, and lawyer Zmitser Harachka expected the commission to consider documents on amnesty of the US national in a week.

“The amnesty is used within six months. In our case the problem is that we need a no claim certificate from the court. The certificate has been sent to the colony this week. The Belarusian court confirmed the state and individuals do not have any claims to Zeltser. The commission has sessions every Wednesday. We don’t have time to present our documents this Wednesday, so a question on amnesty will be considered next week,” lawyer Zmitser Harachka told “Belorusski Partizan”.

The lawyer noted before he didn’t see any reasons for denial of amnesty to Zeltser.

“I don’t see any formal reasons for denial of amnesty to Emanuel Zeltser,” the lawyer of the convicted US citizen said. “People convicted for less than six years who have served at least a quarter of the term are included in the amnesty. Emanuel Zeltser was sentenced for 3 years. He has served a year and a month. The prison administration has no reproofs to Zeltser, so he can hope for the amnesty.”

It should be reminded that Emanuel Zeltser and Vladlena Funk were detained in Minsk on March 12, 2008. On August 11, the Minsk City Court found them guilty of using fake documents and attempted commercial espionage. Zeltser got three years of imprisonment, Vladlena Funk was sentenced to one year in prison. The Supreme Court of Belarus upheld the decision on October 31. All trials were held behind closed doors. Vladlena funk was sewing quilted jackets in the penal colony.

Vladlena Funk, who was serving her term in a penal colony in Homel, has been released. She refuses to reveal any details about this criminal case fearing for Zeltser’s life. Emanuel Zeltser, arrested on March 12, 2008 and sentenced for three years, is still in a penal colony in Mahilou. He spends most of his time in a prison medical unit due to his bad health. The US government has called on the Belarusian authorities to release Zeltser on humanitarian grounds, but Minsk refuses to do this.