Belarusian authorities use Article 193.1 against religious organization
Minsk city prosecutor’s office brought a criminal case under Article 193.1 of the Republic of Belarus against a representative of a religious organization. 25-year-old citizen of Minsk Yauhen Voukau is accused of activities on behalf of the unregistered Movement of Unity (Mun’s Church).
Human rights activists are concerned with the continuation of the practice of usage of this article.
‘Bear in mind that it is the first criminal case against representatives of religious organizations since 2006, when Article 193.1 came into force. The authorities haven’t used this article for a certain period of time. There existed something like a moratorium on it. The last time the article was used was in the last year, when the activist of the Young Front from Polatsk Katsiaryna Salauyova was tried under it. But now there has been brought another criminal case under this article,’ commented Valiantsin Stefanovich.
Bear in mind that the investigator who is dealing with Yauhen Voukau’s case is the senior investigator on the most important cases of Minsk prosecutor’s office S.Hrakhouski, who earlier persecuted the Young Front activists Zmitser Fedaruk, Barys Haretski, Aleh Korban, Nasta Palazhanka and Aliaksei Yanusheuski for ‘activities on behalf of unregistered organization’.
On 20 June the investigator denied the witness Ihar Valiuk in the right to use the lawyer’s services during the interrogation, though he has concluded an agreement with the lawyer Pavel Sapelka. Such refusal rudely violates Article 62 of the Constitution that guarantees each citizen the right to legal assistance for realization and protection of rights and freedoms including the right to use the assistance of lawyers at court and other state organs at any time.