Vitsebsk: poetess demands 7 million rubles from human rights defender Leanid Svetsik

2009 2009-06-29T19:35:58+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/svetik.jpg

Tamara Krasnova-Husachenka has filed a lawsuit with Vitsebsk oblast court where the legal proceedings concerning the human rights defender Leanid Svetsik still continue. She demands from him 7 million rubles in alleged damages to her health.

Mr. Svetsik is charged with fomentation of national and religious enmity by Vitsebsk oblast KGB office. According to the conclusions of the investigative group, the human rights defender allegedly had relation to composing and distribution of anonymous threat letters on behalf of ‘Vitebsk branch of the Russian National Unity’ (Russian neo-Nazi organization).

Such letters were sent to oppositional and civil activists in 2006-2007. The authors of the letters threatened them with assault and battery for political views. At the same time, according to materials of the criminal case against Mr. Svetsik, a letter with gratitude for ‘defeat of the Belarusian nationalist writers’ was submitted to the head of Vitsebsk branch of the pro-governmental Union of Writers of Belarus Tamara Krasnova-Husachenka. The authors expressed the hope that the pensioner poetess who writes in the Russian language only would join this ‘great cleansing mission’ and enter the ‘wide columns of the fighters for the Russian idea on the territory of Belarus’.

At the trial Tamara Krasnova-Husachenka stated that he was not offended by this letter only: somebody used to phone her at night in the past years and kept silent. He was being sent video and audio records with ‘BPF content’ and once she got a parcel with badges of For Freedom movement.

At first she thought it was the rival literary workers from the Union of Belarusian Writers and even wrote complaints to the head of its Vitsebsk branch Frantz Siuko and to the head of the Union of Writers of Belarus Mikalai Charninets.

Despite the fact that the guilt of Leanid Svetsik has not been proved yet, the head of Vitsebsk UWB branch stated that it was him who had exercised moral pressure on her. In her lawsuit she wrote that the letters and parcels resulted in a stress that provoked an exacerbation of her otitus, and demanded 7 million rubles in damages.

Judge of Vitsebsk oblast court Halina Urbanovich accepted the lawsuit and asked the plaintiff to present any documents that could confirm the connection between the moral sufferings and the ear illness.

The defendant Leanid Svetsik considers the pretensions of the head of Vitsebsk branch of the Union of Writers of Belarus groundless and states that he has no relation to writing and distributing any letters on behalf of the RNU. He also points at numerous process violations during the investigation. Since 10 June, when the legal proceedings started, he has made more than 20 motions for additional expertise and other actions aimed at finding the truth in the case brought on the RNU letters. However, all of them were declined by the judge.

Mr. Svetsik considers the criminal persecution by the KGB and the trial as revenge for his human rights activities: during the past years he used to give free consultations to the receivers of such letters, who demanded from the police and the KGB to find those who threatened to them. However, the state organs were only writing come-offs that RNU was an unregistered civil association that did not exist in Vitsebsk.

The case on the RNU letters was brought in May 2008. After a nine-year search in Svetsik’s apartment he was told that he would be a witness in the case. Soon after it he was told that he was a suspect, and on 31 March 2009 he became a suspect under Article 130.1 of the Criminal Code. He can be sentenced to up to five years of imprisonment if the court finds him guilty.

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