Vitsebsk activists protest against criminal persecution of human rights activist Leanid Svetsik
Civil and political activists of Vitsebsk distributed the following statement concerning the criminal persecution of Vitsebsk human rights defender Leanid Svetsik. Expressing their protest against criminal and court persecution the activists demand an objective and all-sided trial of Leanid Svetsik’s case by a competent, independent and impartial court.
The trial of the human rights defender Leanid Svetsik has lasted for more a month already, since 10 June. He is charged with fomentation of national and religious enmity by means of sending threat letters on behalf of the Russian neo-Nazi organization Russian National Unity.
Starting from 1999, Leanid Svetsik many times assisted dissidents at trials and addressed the law enforcement organs and the authorities with the aim to protect civil and political rights of Belarusian citizens. In 1999 he applied to the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of victims of repressions of the Belarusian authoritarian regime. All six complaints were accepted for consideration. Besides, as a result of his addresses to the authorities some legal acts of the country were amended.
At the twelve sittings on this case the court listened to testimonies of the witnesses and victims, studied the documents and evidence. The defense made more than 30 petitions pointing at violations of the Criminal Process Code during the preliminary investigation. However, during the trial the judge of Vitsebsk oblast court Halina Urbanovich did not grant any of them. In particular, she declined the motion of L.Svetsik for specification of the results of the expertise of the threat letters that had been sent to citizens of Vitsebsk in 2006, because the printer cartridge, confiscated during a search in Svetsik’s apartment, (by which these letters were allegedly printed) was produced later, in 2007. By such behavior the judge expressed her non-objectiveness and interest in punishing Mr. Svetsik.
Taking into account all abovementioned facts we express our protest against criminal and court persecution of the human rights defender. We don’t believe he is guilty, because we know Leanid Svetsik as a principled defender of human rights, including the national rights. That’s why we demand an objective and all-sided consideration of the case of Leanid Svetsik by a competent, independent and impartial court.
We think that criminal persecution from the side of KGB and this trial is revenge to L.Svetsik for his human rights activities. But the main thing is that the authorities want to isolate him as an active human rights defender till the following presidential elections. This process is not a criminal, but a political one!
July 2009, Vitsebsk
The statement was signed by: A.Zaleskaya, Ya.Dziarzhautsau, B.Milchyna, H.Limarava, S.Belazeka, S.Parsiukevich, A.Limvis, H.Nasonava, Ya. Talpyha, L.Tserashonkava, N.Tupiakova, V.Kavaliova, K.Smolikau, A.Haurutsikau, A.Pivanos, M.Hryshchanka and Kh.Zhaliapau.