Pavel Sapelka: ‘Under the law Autukhovich was to have been released long ago’

2009 2009-12-15T16:36:31+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Mikalai Autukhovich

Mikalai Autukhovich

The lawyer of the political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich believes that the Belarusian authorities have no grounds to keep Vaukavysk entrepreneur behind the bars.

‘We continue familiarizing with the case, and no fresh news except that’, Pavel Sapelka said in an interview to RFE/RL about the case of the political prisoner.

‘To my mind, Autukhovich should have been released long ago under the law. I think many Belarusians could appear it such a situation, and the result would be the same,’ said the lawyer of Vaukavysk entrepreneur.

The lawyer Tamara Sidarenka who defends Uladzimir Asipenka says that now they are studying the materials of the case.

‘We are sitting and reading. We haven’t finished yet. We have read a half. Hopefully, by the end of the week we will have read everything and will have a full image. So far studying the documents my client is sniffing in disapproval and saying ‘That’s ridiculous!’, Tamara Sidarenka said.

Autukhovich - Asipenka case on preparation of a terrorist attack against high-ranking officials and damaging property has 17 volumes of documents. Vaukavysk businessmen plead innocent.

As website previously informed, Vaukavysk-based businessmen Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Liavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on 8 February 2009. On 18 February the entrepreneurs were charged under Article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens). On 23 June 23 a criminal case under Article 359 of the Criminal Code (a terroristic act) in the form of preparation (Article 13) was instigated against Autukhovich and ‘other persons’.

Liavonau was released from Minsk pre-trial prison on 8 August. On 24 September he was cleared from all charges.

Mikalai Autukhovich was on hunger strike since 16 April until 16 July. He demanded from the authorities to either take the case to the court as soon as possible, or to change the measure of restraint for all persons involved in the case from imprisonment to a written undertaking not to leave the place.

Human rights activists consider them political prisoners, turning attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Liavonau were convicted before and recognized prisoners of conscience by the international community.