Ivan Mikhailau faces 6 month arrest instead of alternative service
21-year-old Ivan Mikhailau is charged with draft evasion. The young man pleads innocent.
At the moment Ivan Mikhailau faces six months of prison for draft evasion under Article 435 of the Criminal Code of Belarus. Mikhailau does not consider himself evading from draft: he is ready for alternative service. However, as stated by website ags.by, the draft committee denied him such a possibility.
As said by lawyer Sviatlana Harbatok, the family of her client referred to Article 57 of the Constitution of Belarus and the CIS Model Law On Alternative Service, many times addressed the draft committee, the military enlistment office, the Defense Ministry and Lukashenka’s administration with a request to substitute military service by alternative or reserves service for Ivan Mikhailau. The alternative service would be preferable variant for this young man, as he is the elder son in a family with many children and he helped to support the family considerably. Besides, Ivan is a parishioner of Messianic Jews community. His religious views ban him to carry arms.
It should be noted that under Article 36 of the Belarusian Law On Military Service, the draft committee among its functions also has to adopt decisions about sending a person for alternative service. The draft committee of Minsk oblast disregarded the situation explained by the Mikhalaus and decided to send Ivan for active military service.The case was forwarded to the court of Minsk oblast back on 31 December 2009, however the date of the court trial has not been set yet. The young man has been kept in the pre-trial prison of Zhodzina for three weeks already.