Human rights defender Leanid Svetsik had his last plea. Verdict to be pronounced on 16 July
On 9 July Leanid Svetik, who is accused under Article 130, part 1 of the Criminal Code (fomentation of national and religious enmity), had his last plea at Vitsebsk oblast court. He pleaded innocent and stated that the criminal case was the revenge of the authorities for his human rights activities. Then the judge stated that the verdict will be pronounced on 16 July.
Bear in mind that on 8 July, at the previous court sitting, the representative of Vitsebsk oblast prosecutor’s office Siarhei Selikhanau demanded to punish Leanid Svetsik with two years of imprisonment.
In his last plea Mr. Svetsik stated that during the trial Selikhanau deliberately manipulated the facts in order to make them look doubtless and dishonor the defendant and the whole human rights movement in the eyes of the society. ‘The prosecutor actually confessed me a maniac who was getting share with the society by sending the people letters on behalf of RNU (Russian National Unity, neo-Nazi organization). 15 such letters were received in 2006-2008, but I did not know most of those who received them, that’s why it is absurd.’
Besides, during the trial the prosecutor many times emphasized that Svetsik allegedly deliberately fomented enmity between representatives of different nations in order to ask some grants from foreigners. To disprove these insinuations Mr. Svetsik again and again reminded the court that till 2008 neither the police, nor the prosecutor’s office paid any attention to the fact that authors of the threat letters insulted the national feelings of Jews, Russians and Belarusians. The state agencies blankly refused to look for the offenders, referring to the fact that RNU was not registered. Only on 20 May 2008 Vitsebsk oblast KGB department brought a criminal case, in which Leanid Svetsik was first made a witness, then – the only suspect and finally – the only accused.
Svetsik’s lawyer Pavel Sapelka and a number of victims (in particular, the members of the Conservative Christian Party Belarusian People’s Front Yan Dziarzhautsau and Yan Taupyha) consider the accused of Leanid Svetsik of fomenting racial and national enmity a provocation and the whole case – fabricated. They have passed to the court the address, signed by the civil activist of Vitsebsk, with the requirement to drop all charges against the human rights defender Leanid Svetsik.