Vitsebsk activists collect signatures in support of Leanid Svetsik

2009 2009-07-07T19:04:45+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The civil activists of Vitsebsk are collecting signatures under an official statement in support of the human rights defender Leanid Svetsik. They intend to pass this document to Vitsebsk oblast court where the criminal case against Mr. Svetsik is tried.

Bear in mind that the case was brought by the local KGB that charged Mr. Svetsik with fomentation of national and religious enmity by sending threat letters on behalf of the Russian neo-Nazi organization Russkoye Natsionalnoye Edinstvo (Russian National Unity). However, even those who received such letters do not believe that the human rights defender has any relation to them.

The former head of Vitsebsk branch of the United Civil Party Alena Zaleskaya, the first signer of the statement in support of Mr. Svetsik, was the first to receive such a letter in 2006. The unidentified authors of the letter threatened her with assault and battery for her political views. Leadnid Svetsik helped her file applications with the police and the KGB. Mrs. Zaleskaya and all other receivers of threat letters received written answers from the state organs that RNE was not registered in Vitsebsk region and it was impossible to find those who were sending the threat letters.

That’s why in the text of the statement Alena Zaleskaya wrote that ‘the criminal persecution from the side of the KGB and this trial was revenge to Leanid Svetsik for his human rights activities, and the main aim of the legal proceedings is to isolate him as an active human rights defender till next presidential elections.’

Three other receivers of threat letters – the oppositionists Yan Dziarzhautsau, Barys Khamaida and Yan Taupyha – also intend to sign the statements. Earlier each of them expressed impeachment to Judge Halina Urbanovich who is trying Svetsik’s case.

The activists are going to pass the document to the court on 8 July, the day when the court debates will take place. Article 130, part 1 of the Criminal Code, under which Mr. Svetsik is accused, envisages up to 5 years of imprisonment as punishment.